NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Donovan McNelis, OL, Alderson Broaddus University

Donovan McNelis the rugged and hard nosed offensive lineman from Alderson Broaddus University sat down with our owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Donovan McNelis
  • Height:  6’1
  • Weight: 300
  • Position: Offensive Guard
  • College: Alderson Broaddus University 
  • Twitter: @DonnyMac54

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

•  I grew up in Irwin, Pennsylvania which is a suburb right outside of Pittsburgh. It is a blue collar town, which is what I love most about it. It is filled with people who work hard everyday. The town has a heart and soul and the people in my neighborhood are proud of their families, work and future. I was raised with a sense of values and morals and a strong work ethic and being what is considered a blue collar worker means taking pride in what you do every day of the week whether you are working at a farm, a factory, an office or a medical facility.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

  1. Strength and conditioning is first because you cannot build a strong house on a weak foundation. You need to have your power and conditioning in line with your strong work ethic before you can move forward 
  2. Practice is second, and actually continual due to the fact that you must always practice to eliminate errors and to get better. The more things become second nature through practice, the smarter and stronger you become 
  3. Film Study is third. You must study what you have learned, what your own team is doing and what your opponent is doing to get better. Recording and studying is the only way to see improvement and learn your opponent’s and your weaknesses

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about failure. I do not want to let down my team, family nor myself. If I have an objective and have people depending on me, I do not want to let them down. I am probably my worst critic, but it has made me a.a.better player, person and mentor.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

•  I was moved to right tackle two seasons ago due to our line having multiple injuries. My coach said I was his best lineman and although I’ve only played center and guard, I could handle tackle. My first game as tackle was not a solid performance in my eyes. I did not give up any sacks, but I caused 2 hurries and I had 2 holding penalties. My coach praised me and said it was a learning curve, I disagreed and felt I failed my team. To improve and not ever have this happen again, I spent an additional hour or so each day at the field working on hand and foot techniques. I also watched the film from the game to critique and improve myself. I then watched film on Notre Dame’s right tackle Robert Hainsey and Alabama tackle Jonah Williams.  They are dynamic tackles and I watched their feet and hands for leverage ideas and power. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• They would say that Loyalty is my best quality. I never leave anyone behind and I will always support my guys

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

• Keelan Cole is the best player I have played against on another team. He plays wide reciver for the Jacksonville Jaguars. However the best player I actually got to block was Dominic Cizaukas who is a linebacker from Glenville who earned All-American last year.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

• If I couldn’t play football anymore my profession would be in Nursing. I am currently majored in Nursing and if I cannot play football anymore I would like to become a nurse in an emergency room.

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

• They are all clean all the time, but if I had to choose it would be my room. You cant function or sleep well in a dirty room.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

• Family is everything to me so it would be a family member 

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

• Arnold Schwarzenegger in pretty much any role he played, but I would choose the Terminator. He never stops until his mission objective is complete, he is trying to help save the world, and he is a Bad Dude.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with or overcome it?

• I need to set realistic and achievable goals. I tend to set very high goals and standards for myself. To overcome that, I play at 110% in everything I do. There are no off days

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I bent over during class in High School and split my pants totally up the rear.  In front of an auditorium of students and teachers. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• In the season of 2016 it was my first year starting college football and my redshirt freshman year and we won the conference championship for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. The feelings when I was on the field and we hit the game winning field goal I can not explain the emotions I had. To know you are a champion and everything you worked for paid off and I keep the conference champion ring in my room to look  everyday to strive to remain a champion in everything I do.

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Roy Jones “Can’t be touched” this song describes my work ethic because I believe my work ethic can not be compared come close to or touch any other prospect. I live in the weight room and love improving my game any way I can.

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

• My Persistance

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

• For the first time I’m going to make a selfish decision: My Grandma (mom’s mother)  she went into the hospital 3 days after I was born and then died. I would love to talk to her and ask her about her life and show her what an amazing young man I grew up to be. And, to tell her I really missed having her there all the way physically, but she was there spiritually. 

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

• In The Trenches

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• I believe that Maurkice Pouncey the center for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the most underrated player in the NFL. This is because the Steelers offense has been plagued with injuries this season including their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However the Steelers as of right now have the wild card sport in the AFC. This is because of Maurkice Pouncey who is the center and leader of one of the best offensive lines in the NFL as been protecting their quarterback incredibly this season.

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• Respected!  Respect for my ability, accomplishments, and leadership mean more than a popularity contest. 

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

•  Richie Incognito has had a lot of issues in his career including bullying, and multiple arrests. I feel for him because he is a pro bowl player and threw multiple years of his career down the drain, because of mental issues he has faced. Luckily he checked himself into treatment centers multiple times and has been able to be brought back into the NFL by the Raiders and is said to be having another pro bowl season. Without the help he probably would have never been able to play again.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• I hate to lose, I can’t stand it. The feeling of being a loser is the worst feeling on the planet and I will do anything to prevent myself from being a loser. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• My parents are my biggest influence in life. They have been my biggest motivator and supporter in my life. Without them I would not have had the support and love and motivation to be successful in school, football, and life.

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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