2018 NFL Draft Interview: Kenyatta Dunbar, Gardner-Webb University
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Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Kenyatta, can you please tell us about yourself?
Kenyatta Dunbar: No problem and well a little bit about myself I am from North Augusta, Sc I have lived there all of my life. I have been playing football since I was about 5 years old. I always knew growing up that this is something I wanted to do forever. I was always into watching sports whether it was football, basketball, or baseball my tv channel stayed on ESPN. I went to Strom Thurmond High School where I played under Coach Sawyer a well-respected coach in South Carolina. I am very family-oriented I love my family I have two little brothers I am the oldest out of my mother children. And I have a daughter named Alori which is one of my biggest reasons why I go so hard in this sport.
Justin David Kish: You played your college career at Gardner-Webb University. Tell us about your time spent at Gardner-Webb?
Kenyatta Dunbar: My time at Gardner-Webb was a great learning experience. I met some close friends and teammates that I have played with over the years, as well as coaches that have helped me become the man I am today. Also, I have met some great people throughout the school that has wished success on me since I’ve been there. Football wise I started a couple games as a freshman as well as playing on special teams and got the hang of things early. But during my journey, I had a couple of challenges that set me back, but I was able to overcome all obstacle and make the First team All-Big South this season and currently on my way to graduate in the spring semester.
Justin David Kish: During your time at Gardner-Webb, you were coached by Head Coach Carroll McCary and defensive coordinator Travis Cunningham. What did you learn under Coach McCray and Coach Cunningham during your tenure and how have they improved you as a player?
Kenyatta Dunbar: Head Coach Carroll McCray is a great guy and I will always thank him for giving me the opportunity to play again on the collegiate level. Over my years at Gardner-Webb, he taught me discipline along with helping me in my Christianity lifestyle and keeping the faith in God. Travis Cunningham will always be one of my favorite coaches he was one of the reasons I was able to play at a high level even though I’m an undersized linebacker. He believed in me and helped me with my hand and footwork techniques that allowed me to use my quickness as an advantage throughout my time at Gardner – Webb.
Justin David Kish: Gardner-Webb plays in the Big South Conference, you played against Liberty, Campbell and Charleston Southern on a year-to-year basis. What is one game in college that really took you to your limits?
Kenyatta Dunbar: I would say the game against the Big South champions Kennesaw State of this year. You always want to make a statement going into conference play and they were our first conference game this year. They were a tough team that played a Georgia Tech type of offense. It challenged me in playing tough against the runs all game long and playing through cut blocks to make plays.
Justin David Kish: Playing linebacker, you took head on some of the best offensive linemen in the FCS. Who were some offensive lineman that really challenged you and how did you fare?
Kenyatta Dunbar: I would say going up against Western Carolina, North Carolina Central, and Charleston Southern this year brought some challenges but I fared out pretty good combining for 4 Sacks total amongst them three teams this season.
Justin David Kish: When you look back at your career at Gardner-Webb, what is one memory that stands out from the rest?
Kenyatta Dunbar: The memory that stands out the most would be playing against Josh Allen and that Wyoming team this year. Going against one of the best Qb’s in this draft this year helped me a lot to improve my game and gave me a lot of confidence. It boosted my level of play up going against an FBS opponent and a future first-round prospect and I had one of my best games this year coming off of my injury from the previous year.
Justin David Kish: What does it mean to you to be a Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldog?
Kenyatta Dunbar: To be a Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldog to me it means that you gotta be someone who is dedicated and committed to putting in the work week after week to make yourself better no matter the circumstances. You have to be a strong-minded person who can focus and do all the things necessary to make your school and Alma Mater proud!
Justin David Kish: Let’s shift over to draft-related questions, how are you currently preparing yourself for the draft and any future team opportunities?
Kenyatta Dunbar: I am constantly training going to workout every day to make sure my body is in the healthiest form it can be so when pro day’s come around I can showcase my talents in front of scouts. When I’m not training I’m trying to take care of my body by eating healthy and keeping track of my weight so that I am where I want to be physically. Also, I like to mentally prepare myself by going back and watching film from this previous year to see what I can work on to improve my game from the mental aspect.
Justin David Kish: What is one aspect of your game do you consider to be your biggest strength?
Kenyatta Dunbar: My biggest strengths are my football IQ, speed, and quickness. I’ve always had the ability to diagnose a play and react with my quickness before I can even be touched. I rely heavily on that recipe right there when I’m playing in a game.
Justin David Kish: What is one area of your game you are always improving on a daily basis?
Kenyatta Dunbar: Every day I’m trying to improve on my footwork and also getting stronger and faster. If I’m able to have great footwork to control my Speedo on top of putting on some weight I’d be an even better linebacker then I am now.
Justin David Kish: Name a point during your college career that you overcame adversity and what did you learn from the experience?
Kenyatta Dunbar: My junior year I suffered an injury to my shoulder and I was told if I would’ve went back in and played that season the chances are I wouldn’t be able to play again. Then this Year I ended up making a full recovery and ended up having a good season and was named to the first team All-Big South. That life lesson taught me to never stop working even when the odds are against you.
Justin David Kish: How was your chemistry with your team in college?
Kenyatta Dunbar: My team chemistry was good. When I’m on the field I’m going straight to work my only goal when I’m on the field is to get the job done so that me and my teammates can succeed and win.
Justin David Kish: What were your on-the-field responsibilities in college?
Kenyatta Dunbar: My on-the-field responsibilities were getting everyone lined up and getting the play calls in so that everyone could execute the play since I was the Mike linebacker.
Justin David Kish: Outside of football, what does a typical day look like when you have time off?
Kenyatta Dunbar: In my time off I’m either working out and perfecting my craft or I’m working hard on school work so I can finish my other lifetime goal which is being the first in my family to graduate college.
Justin David Kish: What separates you from the rest of the other draft-eligible linebackers?
Kenyatta Dunbar: I believe my football IQ is very high and I can see things happen before it even happen along with being very fast and reacting at the same time I don’t think all linebackers have that advantage to read and react at the same time.
Justin David Kish: In the next couple of questions, I am going to put you on the spot. My first question, if you could compare yourself to any current NFL linebacker who would you compare yourself to and why?
Kenyatta Dunbar: I would say Ryan Shazier because he has quick feet and reacts fast to the ball. He is also very physical inside even though he had a size disadvantage against NFL linemen. I believe our playing styles resemble each others.
Justin David Kish: My final question, If I was an NFL GM why should I draft Kenyatta Dunbar?
Kenyatta Dunbar: You should draft me because I am a hard worker and I am going to give my all for any organization that takes a chance on me. I have been preparing for this opportunity all of my life and I’m determined to make the best out of any chance I get. I will show anyone that gives me the chance why they made the right decision in picking me up this off-season.