Interview with Winston DeLattiboudere III
Recently, former Minnesota Gophers defensive end Winston DeLattiboudere III was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions from me. Winston finished his senior season for the Gophers in 2019, after earning playing time in every year of his college career. He was a senior captain and a key part of the team’s magical season under PJ Fleck. You may also recognize him on Whole Nine Sports from our recent All-Name Mock Draft, but Winston’s story obviously goes way beyond the text on the back of his jersey. Without further ado, enjoy our interview!
Q: Who did you model your game after?
A: I picked to wear #46 because of Khalil Mack. I watched him play with a sense of relentlessness at Buffalo that was unmatched, and that’s the same way I’ve always aimed to play the game.
Q: Greatest strength to your game?
A: I believe my attention to detail is the biggest strength I have relating to my play. Being able to take the smallest thing the opponent may give away and use it to my advantage is something I’ve become good at over the years.
Q: Working your way up to the senior leader that you became this past season, what was the journey like with all the other seniors on that defense?
A: Playing alongside a bunch of guys for a long period of time gives you a sense of comfort. Not only because you know that they will react well in the good times but you’ve been through enough adversity with them to see their true colors.
Just a few years ago we were the same guys playing together on a 5-7 team. We found a way to hold each other accountable and raise the standard to a level that was hard to match. At that point we learned what it really meant to play together as a family.
Q: After getting playing time in every year of your career, what did you learn the most from your experiences?
A: I believe starting off my career and redshirting gave me the brute toughness I needed to play in the Big Ten hands down. Fighting and scratching and clawing to make a name for myself on thescout team was something I will never regret having to do. I carried that mentality into my 4 years of eligibility and was blessed to be recognized every year for my efforts. Nobody can ever say that I had it easy any year at Minnesota, it was constant competition and effort to earn my reps and I feel like that’s one reason why many respected me as a leader.
Q: Describe the spark that PJ Fleck has brought to the Gophers, especially 2019.
A: What Coach fleck did for us is made us realize that playing the game of football is deeper than just playing a game. It teaches lessons and it brings people together. That is what we wanted to do this year, unite the state of Minnesota through the love and bonds we had for each other on the field. For the hometown guys it was important but it became really special when out of state guys like myself felt just as indebted to the state and University. This year should propel Minnesota back into its proper place at the top of the Big Ten.
Q: Favorite football memory?
A: Beating Penn State at home and all of TCF Bank Stadium rushing the field as we ran over to get the Victory Bell… It’s definitely something I won’t ever forget.
Q: Best player you played in college?
A: The best player I’ve played against in college would have to be Dwayne Haskins.
Q: What are your plans for utilizing your Master’s degree in the future?
A: I just finished my M.Ed this past December in Youth Development and leadership. Later on in life I know I will be involved in building the young people of our next generation up in some type of way form or fashion but I’m not 100% sure of the way I want to go about it. I know I want to be an advocate for students 100%.
Q: What has it meant to you to do all the local volunteer work you do, as well as in other countries?
A: Being able to run the school supply drive for Rock Primary especially since the school is right down the road from where all my family lives meant the world to me.
College football gives us athletes a platform to change the world, you just have to be willing to push yourself in order to do so. In the future I look to do several things in that same parish and in different parts of Jamaica as well.
Q: Describe your leadership style on and off the field.
A: I’m a very vocal leader, I think everyone could sign off on that. However, something that I pushed myself to be this year was a more dynamic leader. Learning how to match and mold my leadership style with people’s personalities in order to get the best out of them all the time. Some people don’t respond well to being yelled at, and some people don’t respond well with being pulled to the side. In order to lead a group of people you have to KNOW the group you’re leading.
Q: If you had the chance to take part in the “My Cause, My Cleats” program in the NFL, what cause would you support?
A: I believe that If I get the opportunity to participate in the My Cause My Cleats promo that I would pick to support the cause of Global education. There are so many cities in the United States and Countries outside of the US that are lacking proper tools and supplies for providing young people with a solid foundation of education, and I believe with my platform in the NFL I could be an agent for change in that realm.