- Name: Zach Philion
- Position: Will Linebacker
- College: Concordia University
- Height: 6’2
- Weight: 225LBS
- Twitter: @_doubledos
- Instagram: @_doubledos
What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2024 NFL Draft?
– I am a very versatile player that could be put anywhere on the field at my size, including special teams. My athleticism allows me to have an excellent sideline-to-sideline play. I have the ability to change direction quickly and I can make plays happening from the opposite side of the field. With this comes a high motor and my football instincts are elite. I could sniff out plays that others may not see coming and knowing the situation of the game allows me to do so. Along with this comes the ability to communicate with the seven guys in the box. I need everyone on the same page run or pass and identifying that is key to being ahead of the play. This makes my teammates better players. Finally, my work ethic. I am my biggest motivator and I’m always trying to work harder than the guy next to me. I hate losing.
At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?
– I first wanted to begin playing football when I was 12 years old, however; I’ve always loved football. My father Ed Philion played professionally so I was born into it.
What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?
– NFL teams should understand they are getting a player that does not settle for good enough. Quitting is not in my DNA and there is never a moment that I believe deserves to be taken off.
– Teams would be getting a vocal leader and one that leads by example on and off the field. Many would go on to say I am a natural leader in life.
– My character, they’re getting a guy who is outgoing, who can talk to anybody about anything, someone who has a team first mentality in all walks of life (family, friendships, team) while also getting a guy who is not afraid of trying new things and pushing himself outside of his comfort zone.
If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be?
– Kids who cannot afford to play organized sports. Everyone has a dream and money should never be the reason why one cannot pursue their dream and reach their goals. Some kids just need a chance to do something great and if I can help provide them with that chance then I am changing not only my own life but those of others as well.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
– “If you can hang with the owls, then you can sore with the eagles the very next day.”
Who was your childhood hero?
– My father. He played the game of football professionally for 13 years as a defensive tackle followed by another couple of years coaching professionally. I have seen his highest of highs and lowest of lows. He was always able to take care of our family. While playing in the league he was a hard-nosed dog and players would fear playing against him. The “Quarterback killer” they would call him. When he retired, he missed the game deeply because it was all he knew and it broke him, but he still got up every day and went to the office, 9-5 every day for a couple of years he hated it, but it put food on our table. When he got the opportunity to coach football again and do what he loved, the man had a new sense of joy, but the idea of being away from his family for six months of the year and not being able to help my mother raise my two brothers and I was difficult. The moral of the story, since he was a teenager and no matter the circumstances, my dad was always a hustler to provide for not only himself but his loved ones around him. He is the most selfless and hardest-working man I have ever met and he is my role model.
Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school?
– Jacob Salvail, receiver. This guy just knows how to get open and does not drop footballs. He’s a master at finding the holes within a defense and has great route-running ability. He is 5’7 and one of the more dominant receivers in our league but is overlooked because of his height. I call him the Edelman of Usports.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
– Those who make excuses when being challenged.
Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome?
– Went to New Mexico Military Institute when I was 19 years old to play JUCO football. It was 1829 miles away from home and it was a culture shock. The first day I got there they asked me if I was a rat. I thought to myself, “Who are you calling a rat?” I later came to find out it meant “Recruit at Training” which they use to refer to all newcomers. I was shaved bald, told to not cut corners when I walked anywhere, and had to wear the correct uniform each day. Adversity came with juggling all the military rules and balancing football with all that without getting kicked out of school. They mentally tested you over there. Once I left though, I was more organized with my homework, learned what actual hard work was and I appreciated meeting different kinds of people that I built lifetime connections with.
Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?
– Before this year, student-athletes never went and supported one another as an entire student body at each other’s games. I took the initiative in creating a Facebook group for all student-athletes at my school to join and communicate through. Through this group, we promoted events outside of school to build relationships while also encouraging everyone to show up to other teams’ games. What was special to me and what I am most proud of was putting together one of the largest crowds for our women’s hockey team at their national tournament. Those in the media would discuss the community that was being built and the home ice advantage we imposed for those we faced. Never would I have thought that a simple idea would turn out in the way it did and that’s special.
What is your favorite snack food?
– Krispy Creme
What is the best part of football?
– The brotherhood you build with the guys inside the locker room. You are able to create long-lasting memories that will be discussed years down the line.
If you could sell yourself in one sentence what would you say?
– Do you want to be on the winning side or the losing side?
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be?
– Keith Bulluck because he is able to cover positions from running back, to tight ends and even the slot backs. Having played DB, my knowledge of route concepts and zone drops rank high and Bulluck is known for being one of the best against the pass as a linebacker. His run support was great too, wrapping up consecutive 100 tackle seasons.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?
– Michael Jordan. I am always learning ways to be a better leader and Jordan made those around him better and he won.
– Leonardo DiCaprio. To me he is the greatest actor, and I would like to shake his hand.
– Henri Charriere, a Frenchman who was a falsely convicted felon sent to prison in the French Guinea colony for life. He escaped prison and wrote a story about his life. I want to know how he was able to survive those moments in his story, truly fascinating.