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2025 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Austin McKinney, DB, Northwest Missouri State University

Austin McKinney the star wide receiver from Northwest Missouri State University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
Austin McKinney the star defensive back from Northwest Missouri State University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Austin McKinney
  • Position: DB
  • Height: 6’2
  • Weight: 202
  • College: Northwest Missouri State University
  • Instagram: @gtpkellz

What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2025 NFL Draft?

My combination of size, speed, and football IQ sets me apart. At 6’2″ and 205 pounds, I have the physicality to match up with larger receivers and the agility to stay with the faster ones. My instincts and ability to read the game allow me to anticipate plays and make crucial interceptions and be physically at the LOS. Consistently taking all that I can from the coaches I’ve had and trying to self-improve has honed my skills and prepared me for the NFL. A lot of early mornings and late nights have been put in to sharpen my craft. 

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

I am relentless in my pursuit of excellence. My work ethic, both on and off the field, drives me to constantly improve and adapt. I study film meticulously and always seek feedback to refine my techniques. My dedication to the game and my team is unwavering.

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

I would donate to organizations focused on providing educational opportunities for underprivileged youth. Education can transform lives and communities, and I believe every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential.

Who was your role model?

My role model is my mother Angela McKinney Her versatility, intelligence, and leadership as a person has been inspiring to me as I reflect in  my adult life. She has shaped me to be the person I am today and I am very thankful for that if I am able to embody the hard work and dedication that she had in raising me and creating a successful life for us, I will be able to create a successful life for myself and give back to her. 

Who is your favorite NFL team?

Baltimore Ravens . Their storied history, passionate fan base, and consistent success have always made them a team I admire.

Who is the most underrated teammate at your school?

I have two. Eric Richardson and Derrick Timmons Jr. They are young guys who will see the field for us for the first time this year but will contribute heavily with the increased role. They both possess football IQ, Catching ability, and leadership qualities that are currently untapped at the WR position. Eric is a 6ft speedster that will likely run in the 4.3 to high 4.2 range on his pro day in the future and Derrick is a Long wiry 6ft 3 deep threat with the quickness of a smaller player .on the field they often go unnoticed because they were young and played less but now they are a crucial part of our offense and will get the deserved recognition.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Lack of effort. Whether it’s in practice, games, or any aspect of life, I believe in giving 100% effort. It frustrates me when people don’t put in their best effort, especially when others are depending on them.

Who is your favorite teacher ever?

Mrs. Thompson, my high school English teacher. She challenged me to think critically and express myself clearly, skills that have been invaluable both on and off the field. Her encouragement and support helped shape my academic and personal growth.

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

The hardest moment in my life was recovering my academic and athletic football career. After my redshirt sophomore year, I experienced a death in a family that took a toll on my mental health, which lead me to decline in academic performance and ultimately being academically dismissed from my first university Saginaw Valley State University. after realizing that I shouldn’t let this failure defined me. I sought out to change my situation, at that point I relocated from Detroit to California to join the saddleback football junior college team.  after a singular season there I was able to rack up 25 scholarships but due to NCAA clock rules, I was not able to accept any of my division one offers. Which lead me to me to accept the scholarship from the prestige division two program Northwest Missouri State, this was a blessing, and I am thankful for all that I went through to get to this point, but that situation was the hardest overcoming of adversity that I have experienced in my life thus far. 

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

Chipotle. I love their customizable meals, and having access to fresh, healthy, and delicious food at any time would be amazing.

What is your favorite snack food?

Trail mix. It’s a perfect blend of protein, healthy fats, and carbs that keeps me fueled throughout the day.

What is your degree in?

I am earning my degree in Business Administration with a minor in Sports Management. It combines my passion for sports with a solid understanding of business principles, preparing me for a future in the sports industry beyond my playing career.

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why?

1. Nelson Mandela – To learn from his incredible journey of resilience, leadership, and forgiveness.

2. Deion Sanders – To gain insights into his mindset, training, and what it takes to be a legendary cornerback.

3. Lebron James – To discuss his dedication, mental toughness, and how she overcame barriers to become one of the greatest athletes of all time.

What is your biggest weakness?

I can be overly critical of myself. While this drives me to improve, it can also lead to unnecessary stress and pressure. I’m working on balancing self-improvement with self-compassion.

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