Name: Wezlee Spence
Q: What goals did you accomplish heading into your final collegiate season?
Most importantly, our team had an 8-2 record, which was the best since 2011 here. Personally, I was top five in my conference in sacks with 9.5, and TFL’s with 13.5. I would have like to have reached double digit sacks, but I’m not a real big statistics guy, all that matters to me is winning. I made it a point before the season as well to get my hands up and attempt to bat away any quick passes I could, and I ended the season with 4 passes broken up, one of which resulted in an interception. I was also a second team all conference selection.
Q: What would your coaches say about the type of player you are?
My coaches describe me as an effort guy. Every time I am on the field, be it a practice, walk through, or game, I am locked in. When the time calls for it, I am full speed 100% of the time. I would also say that my coaches would describe me as someone who leads by example. This past season, being the most experienced defensive lineman, I took it upon myself more than I had in the past to hold myself, along with my other d-linemen accountable during practice and meetings, along with in the classroom.
Q: When you are studying film, what do you focus on to improve your game?
When watching myself, the first thing I look at would be my steps off the ball. Steps / get off is the biggest part of being a defensive lineman. The best feeling in the world is beating a tackle before they get their hands on you! I also look at my pad level, hand placement, along with my pass rush lane integrity or gap integrity in the run game. When watching an opponent, I look for little things to give me an advantage. If they give away run / pass in their stance with their weight distribution, how quick they get off the snap, how they set and which one of my pass rush moves would give me the greatest advantage, if they sit back and catch or try to attack, really anything that can give me a one up on the other guy.
Q: What separates you from the other players at your position?
Although I don’t have ideal size for an edge rusher, my get off and explosiveness off the ball are the strengths of my game. I also use my hands to defeat blocks well and like to shoot gaps in the run game.
Q: How will you train and prepare this offseason for the draft or other pro opportunities?
I will continue to work on my explosion and add weight, while retaining my speed. I also like to watch elite pass rushers, past and present like Khalil Mack, Myles Garrett, Von Miller, Demarcus Lawrence, Dwight Freeney, and Jason Taylor, who played under my D line coach at the University of Akron. Along with this list are various others and pull elements from all of their games and implement them into mine (Khalil Mack’s Long arm, Dwight Freeney’s spin move, and Myles Garrett’s different moves from his bull rush are my favorites).
Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?
I am a student of the game. I love all of the little parts of pass rushing from hip movement, to hand placement, all the way down to stance and start. I also like to watch my teammates and tell them what I see so they can improve their games, as I plan to coach after my football career is over. Off the field, I make it a priority to build relationships with my teammates, because football is a team game and in my experience, great teams result from great brotherhoods that are formed. All of the great teams I have played on have had a camaraderie about them that just feels different than other teams.
Q: What is your final pitch or sell to NFL and other pro league scouts?
I may be undersized, but my heart and motor make up for it. My love for the game is unmatched and you will never find anyone who will outwork me. I am relatively raw as a defensive end, as I played linebacker my freshman year and nose guard in high school. I like to think of myself as someone who absorbs coaching and adapts to any situation they’re put in. When given a chance, I will run with it and never look back. I’ve been an underdog my whole life, you won’t regret betting on me.