March 27, 2023

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Diamond In The Rough: RaaPhell Mayers

RaaPhell Mayers is a 6’3 210lb linebacker in the class of 2022 and plays out of Knoxville, Tennessee. RaaPhell has great speed and strength at the position while providing great tackling abilities as well. On his tape, you can see him feast all over the field. Whether providing run support by filling up gaps, or holding his own in pass coverage, he has a hand in almost every play that goes on within the game. The Linebacker prospect has an impeccable motor and great football IQ to go along with his skillset, making him a dominant figure standing in the way of the offense. He does not only offer a good football IQ however, as he is highly touted for his intelligence off the field as well.

Check out RaaPhell’s highlights here.

Tell me about yourself, what are some things you are into? I am really big into academics; I take pride in my schoolwork and enjoy school even though I do not like it every now and then. I like lifting weight, being outside, family, and football gets me through too. Without football, I would not be where I am right now. I have a younger sister that just turned 15, we both did track and basketball in junior high but I quit because I could not put my full effort into it since I realized I wanted to go to college and play football. I go to a great football program; many people are competing for a spot. There were people ahead of me as a freshman, so I had to work harder in the offseason and cut off distractions from other sports, and that helped me get to the position I am at right now.

When did you start playing football? It was ever since I was young, ever since I was born, my dad played football so I played as soon as I could run. Funny story, my first touchdown was for opposite team. My coach gave me the ball and my adrenaline was pumping, so I ran freaked out and ran backwards as fast as possible that even the referee could not keep up with me. My first day putting on pads, I was the biggest kid on the field. I played at running back one day and gave this kid a stiff arm and ran 50 yards for the touchdown.

What motivates you to get out and practice ever day? What is your why? My motivation is getting to take care of family in the long run. Even if it do not get to the NFL, I am smart enough to get an academic scholarship and take care of them. My dad played college ball, I want to try and make it further than he did. I also have some dead family members that helped to take care of me, and I want to make them proud.

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Is there anybody you look up to/aspire to be? If I had to pick somebody…Ray Lewis, has has been through a lot and is the best linebacker in history, his highlights and motivational speeches make me want to run though a brick wall. I saw his Madden 13 intro when he said nobody thought he could make it cause he was too small and he was not quick enough, but proved everybody wrong and now he is a Hall of Famer.

Do you have a favorite college or NFL team? My favorite college team is Michigan and my favorite NFL team is Cincinnati. It is funny because they are almost opposite of each other, but my family is from Michigan so I grew up watching them with my dad. On our way back from Detroit one year, we watched that Michigan, Michigan State game where the punter tried to punt the ball away but fumbled and then Michigan state went on to run it back. Ever since then, I have been intrigued by them. As for the Bengals, I was really young, and I was sitting at my aunt’s house on some holiday. I watched the Bengals play and I liked their helmets. From that day on I have been watching them and following them.

What NFL player do you try to model your game around? For modern day players…Anthony Barr, but I am a lot quicker than him. He can play Defensive End if he wanted to, He can fill gaps and rush edges, he is a little slow in general but he can still cover. For a historical player…Brian Dawkins, he would fly around with so much energy, it was ridiculous. It is a good 50/50 between him and Ray Lewis, he was a field general like me, he would command the whole defense you could tell.  

What has football taught you about life and yourself in general? Football has been a very big stabilizer in my life, if it was not for football, I would not try to keep my grades up, I am very well rounded. It taught me that nothing is ever given, it is earned. If I am not having a good day at practice, I know that I have to keep my head up and keep fighting because I know if I am not doing good in practice, then somebody else is doing better than me and that is one more day they have over me. I use that in my life, its natural for me to get up at 6am and make my bed. If you cannot even make your bed in the morning than you are having a bad day. If you don’t care about making your bed, then you do not care about the little things. Football has installed discipline and work ethic into me, I definitely use that every day.

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