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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Caden Houghtelling, DL, Northern Iowa

Caden Houghtelling is a versatile member of Northern Iowa's defensive front. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
Caden Houghtelling is a versatile member of Northern Iowa’s defensive front. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Caden Houghtelling
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 270 lbs.
  • Position: DL
  • College: University of Northern Iowa
  • Twitter: Hough4533
  • Instagram: cadenhoughtelling

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I’m an Exercise Science major with a minor in Coaching and also a minor in Strength & Conditioning. I’ve helped out with youth football camps every summer. I’ve also volunteered with the Special Olympics.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that I am very hardworking. I bring it to every practice, and don’t take plays off. You’ll never see me slack off.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’m one of the older guys on the DL and one of the leaders. I try to help out the young guys when I can. I’ve been a very versatile member of our defense, being effective as a DE, OLB or DT. I’m best in pass rush situations. We play very gap sound defense and rarely blitz. So, that leaves players to win their one-on-one battles.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
One of the best players that I have played against was Cordell Volson at NDSU. He was always in a good position and very effective in the run game.

Trevor Penning was a guy that I had to practice against every day. All I can say is that all the stories you hear about him are true. He’s a fantastic player that brings it every day.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Jared Brinkman was a heck of a teammate and great guy. He was a great leader who was always willing to help younger players get better. He was absolutely dominant and always commanded double teams. Very tenacious with a never-say-die attitude.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Making the transition to college was challenging at first. I moved 8 hours away from my hometown and didn’t know a single person. Being the new guy, I had to start from scratch, be patient and earn my spot on the field. I sat behind All-American Elerson Smith who was a phenomenal player. He was one of the guys that helped me early on. Coach Bryce Paup really helped with my development and helped change me into the person and player that I am.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. I played all the way up through high school and was even recruited by some small schools to play.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of how far I’ve come. I went from playing 8-man football in the middle of nowhere Nebraska to being a starting player at a very successful D1 program.

Describe one of the most memorable moments of your collegiate career.
Beating South Dakota State in the 2019 playoffs is one of my best memories to date. They had beaten us in the regular season, and we were able to get our revenge in the playoffs. They got the bye week and we upset them on their field. One of the plays that I remember is when Spencer Brown was on the field goal block team and got the block.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Nick Bosa is one of my favorite players. He plays very fast and violent, using his hands a lot. He is full-go all the time.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I enjoy listening to AC/DC before games.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Oreo Ice Cream.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Game of Thrones is my favorite TV show of all-time. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I’m a big video game guy. It gets very competitive with my roommates.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
My mom and younger siblings are my biggest motivation. They are my biggest supporters. I want to show them that if you work hard that you can accomplish great things. I hope to make my mom proud with all that I’ve accomplished.


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