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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Anthony Witherstone Jr, DB, Merrimack College

Anthony Witherstone Jr the shutdown defensive back from Merrimack College recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen..
Anthony Witherstone Jr the shutdown defensive back from Merrimack College recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Anthony Witherstone Jr
  • Position: DB
  • College: Merrimack College
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 195 lbs
  • Twitter: @awitherstone_
  • Instagram: @a.witherstone

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

My parents first introduced me to the game of football at a young age. Even though they do not play football in the countries where they are from they both love the game and are diehard patriots fans. Football was the first sport I played and the one that I ended up sticking with.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

Winning a state championship every year in high school. Another is beating a nationally ranked team last season, I got my first collegiate pick six in that same game as well. Being voted as a team captain this past spring, which was truly an honor and blessing to know that so many guys see me as a leader on this team is another big moment in my football life.

Which one of your family members inspires you the most and why?

Both of my parents inspire me the most. My father fled war torn Liberia in his 20s, spent almost three years in a refugee camp in Ghana and came to America with just the clothes he had on, and a change of clothes in his backpack. He was able to start a family here in the states and a new life. With limited resources as a child to get education he has built a great career in Nursing for more than 20 years now. My mother left her big family of 8 other siblings in the Philippines, working on the family rice farm her whole life. She was able to save money and be one of the first of her family to go to the United States in order to start a new life and give back to her family back home in the Philippines. Both of my parents are the strongest, and bravest people I know and have sacrificed so much for me to be in the position I am in. They taught me at a young age that nothing in life is given to you and everything isn’t easy, you have to work to get what you want.

What type of energy do you bring onto the football field?

On the football field I play with an intense competitive edge. I like to push my teammates around me, and be someone that leads by example.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day, who and why?

Darelle Revis, he is my favorite cornerback of all time and is someone I’ve always enjoyed watching since I was a child.

What is a moment that improved you as a football player?

The Spring/Summer of 2020 I really took the time to improve on all things that I struggled at as a football player. From technique, footwork, to speed, and overall strength is something that I knew I had to get better. Every single morning would start out in the weight room and then end on the field.

What should we know about Anthony Witherstone Jr the person?

He is a selfless, driven, overachiever. I am someone who genuinely enjoys helping others and seeing everyone do well. When it comes to getting better I try to push myself to be the best version of myself on and off the field every single day. I graduated with a degree in Rehabilitation Science and currently I am more than halfway through my masters program in Exercise and Sports Science. Proving myself wrong and doing things that I never thought I could do in the past is something that motivates me.

What is your favorite coverage and why?

My favorite coverage is man to man. I just love the whole competitive aspect of it, it’s just a 1 on 1. I believe no other coverage challenges the receiver and defender more than man to man. It is something that requires great technique along with good football IQ, and athleticism as a defensive back.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

I handle challenges in life by living in the moment and being present, understanding each challenge by having full presence even in times of failure.

What would a team get in a player like you?

A team would get a player that is a student of the game, someone who is really coachable, and someone with size, speed, and technique who is comfortable in man to man situations on the outside or in the slot.

What are you looking forward to in your upcoming season?

Just looking forward to playing with the group of guys that we have and getting better every single day/week. I am excited to see everyone’s work get rewarded and pay off. I believe that this team is loaded with talent and players that not that many people know about from new transfers, guys returning from injury, or young guys that developed well over the past year.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

The most underrated player that I’ve played with is Nick Martino. He has been one of my good friends since high school and to be able to see him progress as a player here at Merrimack and be one of the best defensive lineman in the league is something that I know did not come out of the blue. He is a tireless worker that is always working on his game, day in and day out. On the field he’s a menace on the line and someone that is always around the football.

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