Name: Manuel Najera
School: University of Jamestown
Q: In your final collegiate season, what goals did you accomplish this fall or set for this upcoming spring?
This fall I only set one goal, which was to play 9 games. Unfortunately we only played 8 games, but I still held myself to high expectations. In doing so I got to lead my team in tackles and forced fumbles.
Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?
They would say that I am a passionate, high motor, and smart player. I like to have fun and it shows when I’m on the field. My teammates know that they could trust me and always knew that I would give them my all.
Q: When you are studying film, what do you focus on to improve your game?
I watch the previous game to see what I did wrong the most and correct the following week. After that I begin to watch film on our next opponents. I look for tendencies of the linemen, quarterback, and running backs. I watch their alignments and what they like doing the most out of their favorite formations or personnel.
Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?
Some things that separate me the most from other prospects is my passion for playing. We could be down by 100 points, but I’m still going to play my heart out. I could be a special teams or being a practice player, I always have something to bring to the table. I want to do this to help my community and convince kids that dreams are possible to accomplish if you really want it.
Q: What is your plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities, especially with the virus limiting pro days/training facilities/etc?
Well, I’ve already started training for any pro day or work out, if possible. I do anything to stay in playing shape year round. I plan on training with a couple coaches this offseason that have experience with pros. If I can’t get into a pro day I’ll just record all my measurements and post them online.
Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?
I’ve had a lot of experience from coaches that have played in power 5 schools and NFL teams. I have also played a lot of football in various levels. I bring a lot of leadership to a team and I’m a team player. I can adopt any team role and I am coachable. I like to be involved with my community and also be apart of any organizations that need volunteering. I love the game but I recognize that this is a business.
Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL/CFL or any other professional leagues?
Don’t let the small school name distract you from my capabilities. I am ready for any opportunity that you’re willing to give. I am constantly and consistently working on my craft, if I have a weakness now then I can assure you I am working on it. Film doesn’t lie, I can play football.