Balewa Byrd: 2022 Pro Prospect Interview
Name: Balewa “BJ” Byrd
School: Morehead State University
What goals did you set and/or accomplish in your final collegiate season?
Coming into my final season, I wanted to achieve at least 1,000 yards, deliver at least 15 touchdowns and qualify for the Walter Payton Award. I accomplished my goals by getting 1,313 yards, achieving 13 touchdowns and earning a nomination for the Walter Payton Award. To achieve all of these goals, I knew it was important for me to really have a strong connection with the quarterbacks. We developed a rhythm by working together.
Q: How do you think you took advantage of the extra year of eligibility to increase your chances of going pro?
The additional time allowed me to develop an even stronger football I.Q. by studying opponents and refining my technique as a player. I had the ability to watch more film given that we played a season in the Spring as well as the Fall. The additional time was a benefit, as I put up twice the amount of numbers compared to Spring.
Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?
Coaches and teammates would say nothing but amazing things about me as a player. They would likely describe me as a versatile player, a humble man, a fun spirit, an honor roll student and a natural leader with an outgoing personality. My coaches would refer to me as a player who a coach would want to be a part of their team.
Q: When you are studying film, what are the things you focus on to improve your game?
When I study film, I am looking to improve my game. I review the type of technique the corner plays, and determine his weakness. For example, does he like to press or play off coverage? Is he physical on the line or is he patient? When do they pass you off to the linebackers or safeties? I also look at their feet. What is their first step? Are they chopping their feet scared to get beat deep or is the first step inside and giving you the outside leverage? Are they playing you outside and giving you the inside because they know they have help? What moves can I do with him off the line or how can I set up my route if he is playing off so many yards? With the linebackers and safety, I tend to see how they play in different coverages. What depth do they get? Are they trying to reroute you or are they trying to take your head off? These are just some of the examples of what I review when looking to strategize for my game and plays.
Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?
What separates me at my position from other pro prospects is that I possess a break away speed to get open. With that, I am also a versatile player, who catches contested passes. As a recognized leader in FCS with receptions, reception yards, touchdowns and 100-yard games, I have exceptional production on the field. Off the field, it’s the same way. I’m always working on my craft when nobody is there or looking. I always strive to improve and set ambitious goals.
Q: What is your offseason plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities?
Immediately following the season, I started training and preparing for a professional career. I have been afforded the opportunity to showcase my skills in many all-star game events and bowls. In addition, I have been focusing on combine preparation, 40-yard dash speed and weight training. I am actively reviewing my games and refining my skill and expanding my football IQ.
Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?
Off the field, my mindset and temperament are different. I am humble and always willing to learn. Even with my strong drive and competitive nature, I am very respectful to others and peaceful in play. I believe in working hard if you expect results. Because of that, I do not give up, nor quit easily no matter what the circumstances are. On the field, my versatility allows me to support my team in many capacities.
Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL and any other pro leagues?
At times, best kept secrets come to light. I am just that. For any NFL team that is looking for a playmaker, a team contributor and all-around great man to deliver results on the field and be a positive part of the club brand, BJ Byrd is the guy. The results of this season speak of productivity – 1313 reception yards, 8-100 yard games and 13 touchdowns, coupled with speed and versatility.