Nnamdi Obukwelu Interview
Sr. / Harvard / DT

Updated - 2-23-14

By: Alex Khvatov


Alex Khvatov:  What are your measurements (height, weight and forty time)?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  My height is 6’3, weight is 303 pounds and I run a 4.92 forty. 
Alex Khvatov:  What is the meaning of your first name? 
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  Nnamdi is a Nigerian name that means my father is alive.  I was born a year after my grandfather passed away.  My mother named me after my grandfather.  I was basically the reincarnation of her father. 
Alex Khvatov:  Where are you currently training for the NFL Draft?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I am training with my college coach at Harvard University.
Alex Khvatov:  Tell us about your practice today.
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I did linear work on Monday.  We worked on our speed and power today.  I also did a lot of resistance work.  I worked on the 40-yard dash start.  But the focus solely was on linear technique for about an hour and then lifting afterwards.
Alex Khvatov:  What do you plan to show scouts during your Pro Day?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I plan to show my versatility.  I am 303 pounds, but you would never guess it.  I move like a 275 or 280 pound guy.  I am not your typical tackle.  I can play outside at end or even drop back into coverage.  I can play multiple positions.  My quickness stands out.  I have the speed, strength and versatility. 
Alex Khvatov:  What schools showed interest in you when you were coming out of high school?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  Coming out of high school, most of the Ivy League schools showed interest.  I also had interest from Boston College, UVA and Duke University. 
Alex Khvatov:  Why did you choose Harvard?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I chose Harvard because my older brother played football here.  I knew the team and the coaches.  My parents were immigrants and going to Harvard was an American dream for us.  I loved the coaches out of all of the schools that I visited.  Harvard was a good fit. 
Alex Khvatov:  Describe your career at Harvard.
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I played a lot at Harvard.  I played a lot as a redshirt freshman.  I got a taste early on.  It helped me develop my skill set.  I was a five- year guy.  I took a fifth year, and it worked to my benefit.  I was able to hone my skills a little longer.    
Alex Khvatov:  What are your strengths?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I am a great run stopper.  I am physical.  It is difficult for offensive linemen to move me.
Alex Khvatov:  What areas of your game do you need to improve upon?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I think that the biggest thing is my greater understanding of the game of football.  I began playing football as a freshman in high school.  I have to develop a deeper understanding of offensive and defensive schemes.  It will help me develop into a better player.
Alex Khvatov:  What is the highlight of your football career up to this point?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I think that it was winning a couple of Ivy League Championships.  Also the triple overtime game against Holy Cross was memorable.  I got the sack at the end of the game.  I was able to cap off the victory for my team.  As far as the accolades, I won the “Bulger” Lowe Award as the top defensive player in New England.  It is kind of like the equivalent of a Heisman Trophy in New England. 
Alex Khvatov:  What is your favorite NFL team?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  The Patriots. 
Alex Khvatov:  Who is your favorite NFL player?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  Growing up, I was a Ray Lewis fan.  Now I admire Vince Wilfork for all of the little things that he does so well.  He is not a flashy player.  Defensive tackles don’t get a lot of praise, but he is the leader of that defense.  He does his job well.  He is a grind it out type of guy.  NFL needs more guys like him.
Alex Khvatov:  What separates you from all of the other players at your position?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  My physicality, strength and athleticism.  You don’t see many big guys as agile as me.  I take on double teams.  I make plays in the backfield. 
Alex Khvatov:  Who was the toughest player that you have faced during your career?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  The toughest guy was OL John Collins.  He was my teammate for four years.  He was a big, tough guy from Boston.  He was an all-league player.  He got a couple of tryouts in the NFL last year.  
Alex Khvatov:  Which underclassman on your team should we keep an eye on next season?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  Hands down, it is DE Zach Hodges.  He was named an All-American this past year.  He was an Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.  He is an animal.  He is from Atlanta, GA.  I think that he will play LB at the next level.  He brings a lot of energy.  He is also very agile. 
Alex Khvatov:  What do you enjoy most about playing football?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I enjoy the camaraderie and competition.  Football opened up a lot of doors for me.  I owe a lot to the game of football.   
Alex Khvatov:  What are your hobbies?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I love to work out.  I am a big proponent of healthy living.  I like to read books and exercise my mind. 
Alex Khvatov:  What book genre do you enjoy the most?   
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  American history and African history. 
Alex Khvatov:  What is your definition of a leader?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  My definition of a leader is someone that does the right thing when no one is looking.
Alex Khvatov:  What are you planning to do with your life after football?
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  After football, I want to eventually get into economic development.  I am a Nigerian.  The biggest issue facing the world is the economic inequality.  I want to find ways how we can combat this problem.  There are many people that live under the poverty line. 
Alex Khvatov:  Finish the sentence, Nnamdi Obukwelu is….
Nnamdi Obukwelu:  I am a leader on and off the field.  I am Mr. reliable.  On the field, I am a competitor.  I never take plays off.  I make sure that my team wins.  I am calm and collected.  I lead by my actions.  


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