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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Kelechi Anyalebechi, LB, Incarnate Word

Kelechi Anyalebechi is a fearless LB and leader of the Incarnate Word defense. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
Kelechi Anyalebechi is a fearless LB and leader of the Incarnate Word defense. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Kelechi Anyalebechi
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 240 lbs.
  • Position: LB
  • College: University of the Incarnate Word
  • Twitter: kelechi_an 
  • Instagram: lechi_8

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 just graduated with a General Business degree, and I’ve started classes towards getting my Master’s in Business Administration. I’ve also been very active being part of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. I’ve done lots of community service including volunteering at a boxing gym, doing fundraisers, working at homeless shelters, helping retired veterans, and also giving talks at my former high school.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
As a 2-time team captain, I am a leader on and off the field. I show others how to do things on the field and set an example off the field by giving back to the community. I try to do things the right way.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’ve come to prominence as the QB of our defense and a vocal leader. I make an effort to never show weakness on the field. I’m an outstanding tackler who’s never taken off the field. I pride myself in my ability to stop the run and drop into coverage. My coaches have schemed me around the front 7 and used me in many ways. I started my first 2 seasons at DE and eventually moved to LB. I’ve played in a 4-man and 3-man front. Last year, they had me blitzing the middle or coming off the edge. This year, having new coaches, we are installing a defense that will have a 4-man front, yet also use many different schemes for all situations. I also have good tape on special teams as a consistent blocker on punts and hope to have more opportunities this season.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Southeastern QB Cole Kelley truly earned my respect. We played him every year and he kept getting better and better. He made it hard on our defense and pushed me to up my game.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
We have a young group in our secondary that are taking big steps in our program like Kaleb Culp, Shawn Holton, and Elliott Davison. They are not afraid to ask questions in order to better themselves. They tackle every play very well and I look for them to have an excellent season this year.

We were very blessed to have Cameron Ward as the QB of our program for the brief time he was here. He is a once-in-a-generation type of player who takes shots downfield and amazes you with the types of throws that he takes. I wish him nothing but the best as he plays for Washington State.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
Back when I was 10 years old, my family made the decision to send me back to Nigeria and attend a boarding school. I was thousands of miles away from my parents and had a lot to overcome. It was a big shock to my system, being surrounded by people who spoke a different language with me being an outsider. I was there for 3 years and had to do things that most people take for granted. I had to gather my own water in order to wash my clothes. It was the worst time in my life, and I was always sad. Yet, when I look back on that time, I realize that it helped discipline me. I had to learn about my culture and be respectful. It helped build my character in ways many people don’t understand. I’ve learned how to be grateful for everything that I have, and I’m proud of my Nigerian heritage.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Soccer. I loved playing soccer back in Nigeria. I’ve played soccer most of my life until I transitioned to playing football.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is definitely getting my Business Degree. I’ve taken my education very seriously, and I’m very happy with how far I’ve come.

Some of my football accomplishments include being 2-time First Team All-Conference, a Buck Buchanan Award Finalist and an All-American.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
We had a tight game against Southeastern Louisiana which was a high scoring shootout. During the 4th quarter, as regulation was winding down, they had a 3rd and long play. I was put on the end as a pass rusher and ended up getting the sack on the QB. That forced them in a situation where they had to kick a field goal. Their kicker missed it, we won and the crowd went crazy.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I am a fan of the Arizona Cardinals. Budda Baker is one of my favorite players. He’s a fearless player who’s always ready to put his body on the line. I want to resemble how he plays the game with his heart. Luke Kuechly is the player that I want to model after. He was a player that studied film the right way.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Kevin Gates is my favorite music artist. I like to listen to Nigerian music before games.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I’ve been vegan for 3 years. Shout out to Mr. Rick Rogers for showing me the way. Being vegan has really helped me maintain a high level of energy as a player. My favorite foods are jackfruit and baked potato.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
King Kong Skull Island is a movie that I really like. My favorite actor has to be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like to lay back and relax and enjoy time with my girlfriend and family. Maybe do yoga or go swimming. I also like to go jet skiing. I enjoy watching Liverpool soccer.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play football because I love the game, and I want to be the best that I can be. I want to use the talents that God has given me. I hope to one day have the ability to help give back to my village and build hospitals. I want to continue to build on my parents’ legacy and make them proud.


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