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2024 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Antonio Grier Jr., LB, University of Arkansas

Antonio Grier Jr. the star linebacker from the University of Arkansas recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot
Antonio Grier Jr. the star linebacker from the University of Arkansas recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot
  • Name: Antonio Grier Jr.
  • Position: Linebacker
  • College: University of Arkansas
  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 235
  • Twitter: Burnowt5
  • Instagram: Bigplay5

What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2024 NFL Draft

  • The thing that makes me a top prospect at my position in this draft is the experience that I have and the position that I put my teammates in to be successful by communicating. As a linebacker, communication is key and that separates me from a lot of people. The experience that I have is unmatched, I’ve played a lot of football and learned a lot from just playing the game and being in game-like situations. The energy and enthusiasm that I have not for myself but for the team 

At what age were you first interested in the sport of football? 

  • I have been interested in the sport of football since the age of 3 years old. I used to watch my older cousins and brother growing up. I would attend their football games and watch them as a kid. Sometimes be the team ball boy. It was a fun experience. I started playing football at the age of 4 years old and have been at it ever since. 

What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?  

  • I’m the most energetic guy in the room. The energy that I bring to a unit is unmatched. It’s contagious. I’m for the team and play the roles that are set for me like my life depends on it. I’m faith-driven and a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I’m a versatile player. I have played mostly Mike backer in my college career at USF but I have lined up at multiple positions on defense ranging from middle linebacker to even outside linebacker as a blitzer. At Arkansas, I worked at and lined up at both Mike and will lb and also made the calls. I bring a lot of experience at the lb spot and I’m able to play in a lot of different defenses. 

If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be? 

  • The one cause that I would donate to is “The Diabetic Research Wellness Foundation.” I would want to donate to this cause in honor of my father who was a diabetic my entire life. I watched him take care of himself in any way possible. His whole lifestyle had to be different because of his diagnosis. Diabetes didn’t break him not one bit, it made him stronger and taught him a lot of things in life. Just watching having to put insulin in himself and sometimes having to do it for him at times that he couldn’t. My father lost his life due to that cause. So I would donate to that foundation because I watched my dad fight and fight and fight some more. Getting to the next level is extremely important because it will help me support this cause on a higher level with bigger support. 

What is the best advice you have ever received? 

  • The best advice that I have ever received was being told to simply be myself. No matter how high I get in life or how low, just remain to be myself. And that stayed with me through every aspect of life especially football because there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows. It’s a part of the game but the team that continues to be themselves through the ups and downs is the team that comes out victorious. 

Who was your childhood hero? 

  • My childhood hero was Antonio Grier Sr(my father). My dad is and will always be my hero, no matter what it was my Dad was going to come flying to the rescue and he helped me grow in so many ways that I appreciate so much now. He taught me how to play every sport and most importantly told me “If I wanted to continue to play football, I had to take my education as seriously as I did the sports I play.” From that point, I excelled academically which led to me being productive on the football field.

Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school? 

  • The most underrated player in my locker room was Cam Ball. Cam is one of the funniest people you could be around and always uplifted the locker room. He also was a tremendous leader that everyone respected. He’s a consistent hard worker and very accountable. 

What is your biggest pet peeve? 

  • My biggest pet peeve as being a man is another person not keeping their word. My Dad always taught me as a man in this world, all you have is your word. But sometimes actions speak louder than words. I motivate others around me not by just encouraging them but by challenging them through whatever practice, workout, or games play. 

Who is your favorite teacher ever?

  • My favorite teacher ever is Coach Ernie Simms. He was my position coach but most importantly he taught me how to become a better person, man, son, and overall human being. He taught me the basics of the schemes of football and technique and I developed as a top LB during that time. My best years of college football were under his teaching and prepared me for my junior and senior years in college at USF and Arkansas. 

Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome? 

  • The biggest adversity that I had to overcome was losing my father in the midst of accomplishing my dreams. My Dad taught me how to run, jump, catch, throw, you name it, my dad helped me do it. My drive is to get to the NFL to show him that all of the work that we put in stemming from my childhood to now is paying off. This drives me to be a better player every day. When I get the opportunity to play in camp, I will compete and prove to be the best player for my NFL team by being a game-changer and disruptive player every practice on defense and special teams. You have to make every opportunity count and that is what losing my Dad taught me. 

Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you? 

  • The University of Arkansas is a great University located in Fayetteville, Arkansas and the most special thing about the school is the resources and job opportunities around it. There are a couple of companies that were started in Arkansas like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Tyson Chicken, and J.B Hunt. It doesn’t get any more special than that. I actually got a chance to meet the grandson of Tyson(the Founder who is now deceased) and had lunch with him at the Tyson headquarters. Gaining this experience helps me with my support on the field by getting more families to come out to the games. We have created personal relationships with each other. 

If you could have any franchise restaurant in your house what would it be?

  • If there was one franchise restaurant that I could have in my house it would be “Living Green Fresh Market” 

What is your favorite snack food? 

  • My favorite snack food is Sunflower seed or peanut butter and jelly’s. 

What is your degree in? 

  • My first degree is in Criminology with a track of behavioral analysis(criminal justice). My masters degree is: Masters of Science of Entrepreneurship in Applied Technology.

If you could sell yourself in one sentence what would you say? 

  • I’m a jack of all trades ranging from Mike linebacker, will lb, top cover lb to safety, to all four special teams kind of player. I will be able to play a lot of spots on defense and special teams both at a high level and in doing so it hopefully will free up other spots for the team.

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be? 

  • Lavonte David would be someone I would compare myself to that is currently in the NFL bc of how I studied his game. I have watched alot of his games and studied his game from his fast play, technique and leadership. He is fast, fearless, relentless, and most important football smart. 

What is your favorite game to play at the carnival/theme park? 

  • My favorite game to play at a cardinal or theme park is either the basketball shooting or baseball throwing game. 

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