Overview: Matt Deiana was a senior who played running back. He started off his college career off his college career at University of Connecticut before transferring to William Paterson University. In 2015, he was one of the players named to USA Football Preseason All-American Second Team. He was also named to the Preseason All-East Team by the Eastern Football Network. He has good hands and is a versatile player who has the ability to play on special teams. During his career, he had 331 carries for 1,492 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also finished his career with 2,151 all purpose yards. On special teams, he had 13 returns for 236 yards.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his overall love for football.
Christa: For the people who do not know your story, how did you wind up choosing William Paterson University?
MD: I initially attended the University of Connecticut for my first season, but after bouncing around a little bit I ultimately finished my final three seasons at William Paterson. I ended up choosing there because it was close to home, I had a few friends on the team, and they played in a strong football conference. They also have a strong Exercise Physiology program which is what I studied.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
MD: My biggest strength is my toughness and determination, while my biggest weakness, although I don’t believe it should be considered a weakness, is my size.
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
MD: The thing that separates me from others at my position is my versatility. I can be used to run inside and outside, I can pass protect, catch passes, return kicks, and I’ve also ran down on punt and kickoff which not many running backs enjoy to do.
C: Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
MD: I believe out of current players I resemble Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead most because they are huge assets in the passing game, can be utilized in the run game, are very good in pass protection, and play a role in special teams.
C: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in your college career?
MD: I’ve faced a lot of talented players in college, but I would say Gabe Ostrow from Suny Cortland.
C: If an NFL scout were to walk up to you and give you ten seconds to sell yourself, what would you say?
MD: I would say that they would be getting the hardest worker in this year’s draft, someone who will never quit, and will do whatever the team asks of him.
C: Where do you see yourself in five years?
MD: I see myself playing football professionally and continuing to run my sports performance gym.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
MD: Before every game I have to listen to a certain playlist on my iPod and go out and do my own specific pre-game warm-up before we come out as a team.
C: What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you in your college career?
MD: My high school coach used to always tell me that hard work didn’t guarantee success, but that the harder you worked gave you a better chance of being successful. That is something that has always stuck with me.
C: What was your favorite moment/play at William Paterson University?
MD: My favorite moment at William Paterson was after we came back to win in the final minutes against Salve Regina in my junior season.
Locker Room Update would like to thank Matt Deiana for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as an NFL 2016 draft prospect.
You can check out his highlights here
Follow him on Twitter: @MattDeiana