Ovenson Cledanord is coming out of his season with 71 total tackles — 12.5 tackles for a loss — two sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown and four forced fumbles. He is a linebacker and strong safety hybrid defender for Dodge City Community College.
Ovenson took the time so speak with myself and Locker Room Update about his career background in football, as well as his aspirations in the sport. Check it out!
When did you first fall in love with football?
I first fell in love with playing football at 5 years old when my uncle who passed away this year 2016 let me try on his equipment and I would walk with him to the park to watch him and his high school teammates play pick-up games for fun. I never got to play organized ball until I got to high school as a freshman.
Who was your role model in football when you were growing up, and who was your role model outside of the sport during your childhood?
My role model in football growing up was Brian Dawkins I loved how he played the game fast and physical and thrived himself as being one of the hardest hitters in the game and I modeled my playing style after him. My role model outside of sports during my childhood was my dad he always wanted me to make something out of myself and be successful in any thing I do.
What’s the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
The most inspirational powerful thing a coach has said to me my sophomore year 1st time on Varsity was “you make ten NFL plays and hundred rookie mistakes, you don’t have to settle as a rookie be the NFL guy you are, Be Great” –Wayne Monroe. I took that in all aspects of life, school, working out, and football.
What was the most exciting game you were apart of, and why?
The most exciting game I have been a part of was this year vs. Ellsworth, because the crowd was alive, we had new uniforms nobody had seen the team wear, I received a prayer from a close friend before the game, as the game went on we had to stick together as a team, everyone on our starting defense was out there having each other’s back, playing as a unit, not playing to win or lose but paying for each other and to dominate.
What are your strengths as a linebacker and strong safety?
My strengths at linebacker are, I am faster than the average linebacker a downhill inside out, I can run sideline to sideline so it’s easy to shut down perimeter run games, I am good in space and open field, I am more physical than my opponent and I will take on lineman and knock them back instead of avoiding them. I have the built of linebacker but the footwork and hips of a defensive back, I understand the game of football, I key very well.
What is the most difficult thing about the position?
The most difficult aspect of the position is I would say my height I’m only 6-Foot-tall so I’m over looked because of that and I’ve seen Linebackers at my height play division one and pros so in the right system I know I will be successful my body control needs improvement I have a lot of wasted motion when changing direction so at the Point of attack I have to come harder than I need to make up for that.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself graduating with my masters in Psychology and in the NFL taking care of my family and becoming the best player I can be.
What’s the most important thing about you off the field that makes you a better play on it?
The most important thing about me off the field is I work hard behind closed doors bettering myself, I spend most of my time to myself it keeps me out of trouble and away from the wrong crowd, I am humble as can be and I’m always willing to help anybody who needs it because blessings come in many ways. I keep a very close connection to God because when I was down he brought me back up.