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USports Spotlight of the Week: Malik Yusuf, LB, Carleton

Malik Yusuf, LB, Carleton
Malik Yusuf is a hard hitting linebacker from Carleton in Canada that recently sat down with Naol Denko of NFL Draft Diamonds for this USports Spotlight.
  • Name: Malik Yusuf
  • Position: LB
  • College: Carleton (Canada)
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 200lbs

Hello Malik! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. How are you doing? What are you up to these days? Please introduce yourself to our readers!

Hey Naol, thank you for the opportunity and for taking the time to highlight me for this series. I am born and raised in Ottawa Ontario and decided to continue my university studies as well as my football career in Ottawa at Carleton University. I am doing great, I am currently in my off-season working out every day with my team while taking a workload of 4 courses. I am currently in a BA honors program in psychology, and I plan on graduating in the next year (2024) which also happens to be my draft year. I am an OLB on my team and have been in this position my entire career to date.

What got you into football? & Why do you enjoy playing football?

It’s kind of a funny story about how I got into football. Initially, my first passion was soccer but found my physicality was too much for the sport and I needed to find a sport that would match my energy and allow me to be aggressive. My dad and I were driving down the road here in my hometown and saw a sign advertising the local football club the Bell Warriors. I signed up at the local grocery store and went to my first practice and fell in love instantly. Football has become my love and passion ever since, it is what I have wanted to do professionally for a career ever since joining that team. I enjoy playing football because it truly allows me to express myself in all aspects, keeps me level-headed and focused, and allows me to impose my will on opponents. The brotherhood that comes with this sport is a huge plus as well and adds to my love for the game. It has taught me many lessons that I will take with me wherever I go.

What are your goals as a football player and as an overall person?

My main goal is to make it to the pros and be able to have a lengthy career and truly become one of the greats in the sport and flourish in my position. I want to leave Carleton knowing I did something that can leave a legacy and inspire younger kids to take a leap and try football. My goal as an overall person is to be the best version of myself and know every day I am doing something to get 1% better. As well another goal of mine is to attain my master’s degree in Psychology and be able to be a dual threat having attained my master’s and playing professional football.

How do you feel going into your 4th year at Carleton?

I feel very good and am excited about going into my fourth year here at Carleton. I feel that it will be a huge year for me to prove myself worthy to scouts and show them that I am capable of playing professionally. As well as stepping up and becoming a leader in our defense which has been a goal of mine since my first year. I have learned from some great LBs that have come through the program and who have graduated to play professionally. I plan to utilize the knowledge I have learned from them as well as my defensive coordinator Coach Lothian who has truly helped our defense become a force to be reckoned with. I have full trust in our defense under the direction of Coach Lothian that we will be one of the best defenses in the league next season. Being in my fourth year, mentally I feel more comfortable with our system and plan to have a big year.

What was your best game last season? How did you feel after the game?

I had a lot of good games last season but by far my favorite game was the first game of the year against McMaster. I was behind a vet on the depth chart and he ended up getting hurt late in the second half, next man-up mentality became my reality. I got in and got a sack that first play in and followed that up on the next series with another crucial sack. It goes to show that when I am given an opportunity I always capitalize and seize the moment. It was by far my favorite game and to make the moment even sweeter we got the win for our new head coach Corey Grant which was a great feeling.

What’s your typical fitness routine?

My fitness routine varies every day during the week. Mondays are usually lower body sessions followed by a 2-hour cardio team run which consists of circuits and speed building. Tuesdays consist of upper body workouts followed by lower body workouts on Wednesdays. Thursdays consist of strictly cardio which is a continuation of Monday’s run. Lastly, on Fridays, we do a big upper body day to end the week on a high. On weekends I tend to switch it up and usually work out my chest and my back at my local gym followed by field sessions during our open field times.

What is your favorite defensive scheme and why?

My favorite defensive scheme is the 3-4 defense recently implemented by our DC last year. This defense allows us LBs to truly be athletes by filling gaps fast and using our speed to pursue running backs and also allows us to cover the field accordingly.  It allowed our defense to create a lot of turnovers and big plays. I look forward to utilizing this scheme in the upcoming season.

What would you tell a team during a draft interview?

In a draft interview, I would tell a team they are getting a player that has a key sense for the ball. A player that can play inside and outside and who is a versatile athlete.  A player that is not scared or shy of contact and will never give up no matter the circumstances. I like to consider myself a hard-hitting LB and someone who drives through contact, I would want them to know I am coming ready to play from day 1. I would also want them to know that they are getting someone who loves to compete, once the chance is given to me I would capitalize on my opportunity. I am a very passionate individual who is not afraid of hard work when it comes to this sport.

What would you tell aspiring football athletes?

I would tell aspiring athletes trying to play at the collegiate or university level to get their studies in check first. School is a massive part of playing at the next level, if you do not have the grades you will not be able to play. I would also encourage them to find a mentor, someone that can guide them in the right direction and who has credible experience. Motivating elders can be crucial in the growth of an athlete’s career. Lastly, to never stop working and always have that hunger and play with a chip on your shoulder as there is always someone trying to take your spot.

Do you have any highlights you want to show?

 I do not have any highlights created at the moment as I am currently working on a career highlight for my upcoming draft year next year, but here is a little clip to get a judgment of my play style.

What’s your Twitter/Instagram? So, any potential fans/scouts can check you out!

Instagram: @Malik_Yusuf18

Thanks for speaking with me! All the best with your football career!

Thank you so much for the opportunity Naol and all the best, it was a pleasure taking the time to answer these questions. I wish you all the best !!


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