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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Habakkuk Baldonado, DL, University of Pittsburgh

Habakkuk Baldonado,the standout defensive lineman from the University of Pittsburgh recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Justin Berendzen.
Habakkuk Baldonado the standout defensive lineman from the University of Pittsburgh recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds scout Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Habakkuk Baldonado
  • Position: DL
  • College: University of Pittsburgh
  • Height: 6042
  • Weight: 255 lbs
  • Twitter: @abba1999
  • Instagram: @haba_tb

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

Well after trying a lot of different sports I got into American football and it just felt like a match made in heaven. I’ve loved the sport since the first second and kept playing it. Step after step it brought me here today.

What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?

Become the best player I can be at my position. I want to win with my team and play this great sport as long as possible.

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

I have to say that we’ve already spent time together but my answer would be Ricky Jackson from Pitt. He’s the original OL who wore number 87.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

I have collected so many great memories from spending 5 years at Pitt. My favorite has to be winning the ACC championship w all my brothers, that was definitely a great achievement. In second place I would put my first sack vs Virginia in 2019 on Bryce Perkins.

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

I would say both my mother and my brother. My mom is a lot like me, adventurous, funny, smart and a little crazy. It’s thanks to her that I am this way, and thanks to her I made it here to the United States. I also said my brother because he gives me the motivation to keep going every day, no matter how tough the situation might be.

What is your favorite defensive scheme and why?

I love our defensive scheme here at Pitt. I feel like I fit perfectly in it playing field side DE. This scheme is my favorite because it is extremely aggressive, allows you to play fast and apply your football knowledge, and finally because we make a lot of plays especially in the backfield.

What should we know about Habakkuk Baldonado the person?

I’m from Rome, Italy born and raised. I have not been playing football that long but my hard work and perseverance brought me to this point. I love motorcycles, books and I used to be an MMA fighter.

What stands out about your film the most?

My football IQ and play recognition. I’d also say my motor, oftentimes I make plays on the opposite side of the field, I always run sideline to sideline. Also my toughness and versatility. Here at Pitt I have played many different positions on the line.

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

Generally I’m an extremely positive person. I look at every obstacle as an opportunity and a blessing in disguise. I truly believe that no situation is inherently good or bad, your mindset and approach makes it one way or the other. Thanks to this mindset I grew a lot from every setback that I’ve faced throughout my career.

What would a team get in a player like you?

They would get both the player and the person. Hard worker, positive minded and a ball player!

What do you love about the game of football?

I love every single aspect of it, the physicality, the mental aspect, the teamwork, brotherhood and bond that gets created with the other players. And I love to get sacks and TFLs.

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

Jared Wayne. He’s a beast of a receiver, can kick and throw, and he’s an overall incredible athlete. Just like me he played a ton of sports growing up and he excelled in every single one of them. He will definitely turn some heads at the next level.

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