Recently I was able to conduct an interview with Eastern Michigan's strong armed QB, Walter Church. Walt has ideal size for an NFL QB standing at 6'4", 225 and he's got a nice arm that enables him to make all the tough throws. He's been somewhat of the forgotten man at his position, but with workouts coming up soon, Walt is looking to make a lasting impression on the NFL brass. Below is some info on Walt, followed by our interview.
Name: Walter Church
School: Eastern Michigan
40 Time: 4.9
Draft Status: 6th-7th round pick.
My View: Walt is very nice young man who's got some good potential. He's a pocket passer who throws a very catchable ball. He's able to throw the deep out with enough velocity to hold value. He's got a tremendous amount of football intelligence which will make NFL teams VERY happy. Will more than likely be the third QB or maybe even on the practice squad, but he's got a very good chance at making it in the NFL.
Q: What kind of person will an NFL team be getting when they draft you?
W.C.: By drafting me, an NFL team will get a person who is totally committed to doing whatever I need to do to contribute to a winning franchise. I am a hard-working, dependable, and honest person, eagerly awaiting to prove myself at the professional level.
Q: What have you heard about your draft status?
W.C.: In regards to my draft status, I've heard a variety of opinions as to where I'll be selected. One publication projected me as going to the Saint Louis Rams in the third round, while others had me listed all the way to free-agent status. That's all well and good, but I just want a chance to get into a camp somewhere and show what I can do.
Q: What are your three playing strengths?
W.C.: My three playing strengths ranked in order would be:
2) Confidence in myself
3) Ability to lead and perform under pressure
Q: Are there any weaknesses in your game that you'd like to improve on?
W.C.: Certainly. I believe all players have areas of their game which could use improvement. In regards to myself, I need to work on the ability to make plays down the field when running with the ball. In my previous offenses in college, running with the ball was not emphasized at the quarterback position. We were responsible to know where all our targets were at all times, and when under pressure to find them and get the ball into their hands to make plays. However, I also believe I have the athletic ability to be a threat when running the ball. I just need opportunities to do it.
Q: What are you doing to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the NFL?
W.C.: I believe that both my mental and physical preparation for the NFL are second to none to most players entering the draft this year. I have been training at the Phoenix Swim Club under the supervision of Tim McLlelan since the first of the new year, and will continue to on through the middle of March. I have also been working with Pete Kettela who serves as the Director of Player Personnel for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League. Both these situations have worked out well for me and allowed the physical aspect of my game to grow. I was also fortunate to study under former NFL quarterback Cary Conklin who served as my quarterback coach at Eastern Michigan. His insight into the game both on and off the field allowed my game to grow tremendously. I also have a cousin, Rick Mirer, who plays quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers and has given me pointers on what it takes to play football at the professional level. Finally, I had the opportunity to be teammates of 2 current NFL players while at EMU. L.J. Shelton was a first-round draft pick by the Phoenix Cardinals and served as my blind side tackle for 2 seasons in college. He currently resides near the facility I have been training at, and always has good advise for me. Finally, I had the priveledge of playing with Detroit Lion quarterback Charlie Batch for 2 seasons at EMU. Charlie had the greatest influence on me concerning the game of football than perhaps any other person. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from him about how to play the game, and how to be a better person. I haven't a chance to talk with him since the end of my season, but hopefully will get to soon and ask him about his own experiences as a professional.
Q: Do you feel NFL scouts have overlooked you this year? What are your thoughts about not being invited to the combine?
W.C.: I know that the job of being an NFL scout is a difficult one, and that evaluating every player is quite a task. I was looking forward to being able to participate in at least one post season bowl or the combine, and was disappointed when I received no invitation to either one. However, that is really something that I can't control. I do feel that whenever I do get the opportunity to test for the scouts, my numbers and performance will line me up favorably with any of the other quarterbacks coming out this year.
Q: Are you aware of how much your life will change in the months ahead? Are you anxious at all? What's going through your head?
W.C.: Yes, I am aware that my life will change in the months ahead. To what extent it will change I'm not exactly sure because I've never gone through it before. I'm most anxious to have the chance to prove myself at this level and pursue something that most people only dream of doing. I know that the Lord will direct my life down the proper path, and as long as I follow Him, things will work out.
Q: What are your plans after your football career is over?
W.C.: When football is over, I know that my life will become much more "normal". I've never been a person to live in the fast lane, or get caught up in a lot of
hype. I'll settle down with my family and probably use my math degree to pursue a career in engineering or teaching.
Q: What is your greatest football moment? Does anything standout?
W.C.: My greatest football moment was the day I signed my letter of intent to play at Eastern Michigan University. I knew from that day forward my life would be changed. I felt extreme joy and pride that my previous hard work had payed off, and that I would be able to attend college on a full-ride scholarship and play the game I love.
Q: Describe the "perfect" draft day scenario.
W.C.: The "perfect" Draft Day scenario for me would be pretty basic. I would consider it an honor to receive a phone call from any of the NFL clubs asking me to be a part of their team. I would feel well prepared to take on the challenge they set before me, and eager to represent my family and my school at the professional level.
Q: Who do you credit for your development as both a player and a person?
W.C.: I have been blessed with so many wonderful people in my life to help me develop into the player and person I am now. First of all, all glory and honor go to the Lord Jesus Christ for being my constant guide and protector through life. His love for me never ceases and His plan will never fail me. I also have been blessed with two wonderful parents who raised me in such a way that I have always known right from wrong, and have always known what is truly important in life. I have two wonderful sisters who are huge fans of mine, as well as two of my dearest friends. I also have a precious girl-friend who is my best friend and biggest encourager.