For over seven years, 365 Sports Network has provided a platform for college football athletes who are wanting to make it to the next level a platform to hear their stores via interviews here on our network. Our interviews provide a full breakdown of the athlete’s career from their stints in college all the way to their current preparations for the NFL Draft and other pro opportunities. If you are a draft prospect looking for a chance to get your name out and would love to be featured in an exclusive interview, please feel free to email us at JustinKish@365SportsNetwork.com.
Joining us today is University of Redlands defensive back Daniel Gonzales.
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time, Daniel. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Daniel Gonzales: Well I grew up in Redlands, California with my mom and dad. I’ve been playing football and the same positions since I was 7 years old and I am now 22. I went to Redlands East Valley High School where I then went to Air Force Academy. Had some hurdles and ended up landing in my hometown college, University of Redlands. When I’m not playing football I like to go out and explore what’s around me and hang out with friends.
Justin David Kish: You played college football at The University of Redlands. Tell us about your time spent with Redlands?
Daniel Gonzales: Unfortunately I only had 2 years at Redlands because I was a JUCO Transfer but in those 2 years I had probably some of my best memories. I was able to play for an amazing coaching staff and with teammates that became brothers real quick. We all had the same goal and all wanted to work hard for it. So that’s what we did. Whether we were in the film room or on the practice field, we all understood what it takes to be a complete team.
Justin David Kish: During your time with Redlands you were coached by head coach Mike Maynard and defensive coordinator Joey Mariani. How has the coaching staff at Redlands improved you as a player during your tenure?
Daniel Gonzales: They helped me understand that I don’t only play this game for myself, I play it for my family, friends, and everyone who has supported me throughout my career. They really showed me how to break down an offense which helped me in every single game.
Justin David Kish: Playing in the Division III SCIAC you played against teams like La Verne, Chapman, and Pomona-Pitzer. When you look back at your time what is one game that really took you to your limits?
Daniel Gonzales: I think the game that took me to my limits had to be my junior year vs. Pomona-Pitzer. We were in a dogfight for the conference championship and I was playing a lot of man coverage toward the end of the game. On the last drive, our defense had our backs against the wall and the season was literally on the line. We made the stop, got out of there with a ring and I left the game feeling I could play man with anyone.
Justin David Kish: Playing defensive back you are tasked with covering some of Division III’s elite receivers. What is the one toughest player you faced and how did you fair in the encounter?
Daniel Gonzales: My toughest encounter would have to be Aaron Lacombe of Cal Lutheran. I feel he was the biggest receiver I went against while I was at Redlands. We both were in a dogfight and got each other through your the game.
Justin David Kish: You created so many memories with your teammates at Redlands. What is one memory that stands out from the rest?
Daniel Gonzales: Easily would be my last game as a Bulldog. We were down most of the game and we never gave up. We fought and we fought hard. The intensity of our sideline, the intensity of our defense on the field just brought out everything. The coaches and I had always talked about how our defense was really good but we still hadn’t reached our potential. That game. The last 2 quarters of my college career. I was able to look around and see the focus on every of the defense and hear the roar of the crowd in a time where it was all or nothing. The way we were stopping their offense made me realize, that potential of the defense came out when it mattered most. Those last drives reminded me that this is what I was made for.
Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be a Redlands Bulldog?
Daniel Gonzales: It means to do right even when no one is looking, take care of your brothers and the people around you, be selfless and do everything that you do to the best of your ability regardless of what it is.
Justin David Kish: Let’s shift our focus to the upcoming NFL Draft. How are you currently preparing for the NFL Draft and other pro opportunities?
Daniel Gonzales: As of right now I am training at the Lab 909 in San Bernardino trying to perfect my craft. I understand that I have to work as hard as I possibly can so that when I do get the opportunity, I can work even harder to make an impact right away
Justin David Kish: What makes you stand out from the other draft-eligible defensive backs?
Daniel Gonzales: I believe that my footwork, hip flexibility, quickness, and the fact that I believe that the ball is my whenever it is in the air makes me stand out.
Justin David Kish: Name a point during your college career that you overcame adversity and what did you learn from the experience?
Daniel Gonzales: Out of high school I went to the Air Force Academy. I eventually ended up leaving because the military aspect was not wanted I wanted for myself. I then went the Juco route. Every week I faced a receiver who ended up going D1 and I was still the leading corner in the conference. The grind and the lifestyle of a Juco player is something that only those who went through it understand. It taught me that regardless of what happens if you work hard you can still get to where you want to be. No matter the setback.
Justin David Kish: How was your chemistry with your team at Redlands?
Daniel Gonzales: My chemistry with my team was amazing. My senior year I was voted as a captain. When I wasn’t in class or at practice I was either doing homework or just hanging out with my teammates.
Justin David Kish: What is one area of your game do you consider your biggest strength?
Daniel Gonzales: My ability to go get the ball. That is what set me apart and helped me lead the nation in interceptions with 9.
Justin David Kish: Outside of football, what does a typical day off look like for you?
Daniel Gonzales: For a full day off I would go to class, then do whatever hw I could. I would then go over to a couple of my teammate’s houses and just hang out, play video games or just go get food.
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 defensive back who would it be and why?
Daniel Gonzales: Brent Grimes. We are about the same size and we have the same play style. We don’t care how big anyone is, if you’re the person we have to stop from scoring then that’s what we are going to do.
Justin David Kish: My final question. If I was an NFL General Manager why should I draft Daniel Gonzales?
Daniel Gonzales: Because you are going to get a hard-working, competitive, team-first leader who will stop at nothing to try and help everyone reach their goals. I will never let anyone outwork me and I will always give you 110 percent.