Name: Klysmann Afonso
School: UMass-Amherst/Worcester State
Q: How did you get started playing football?
One of my best friends told me I should try football in 7th grade. They would always get dismissed from school to play their games and they always thought I’d be good at it. So I just went for it and a month later it was like I had been playing my whole life.
Q: What separates you from all the other athletes trying to become a professional?
I believe my character and perseverance definitely separate me from others pursuing this dream. I am someone who pays attention to detail, I am a constant competitor and I never give up. My resiliency alone is what has gotten me to this point. I will never quit on what I love. I bring my blue collar mentality wherever I go and I am ready to work and know that nothing will ever be handed to me. Plain and simple, I am the athlete an NFL team wants to coach.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
My resiliency to me is my greatest accomplishment. I have been through things that would completely derail anybody else. I have never stopped working to find a way in.
Q: What is your biggest strength or X factor that you bring to a professional team?
My biggest strength is versatility. I believe I can be moved around to any spot on the offense or even defense. I was taught to learn/understand the whole concept of the play and not just learn one single position. Being versatile in the NFL is what contributes to a long career. I strongly believe that I can contribute in all areas of the game.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
The most influential person in my life is my mother 100%. She has taught me so much since I was a child and continues to mold me into the man I am today. She has overcome many obstacles in her life and she does it all with a positive attitude and an unshakable faith. Any decision I make is made with her in mind at all times. I strive to be like her in all areas of my life. She is my world.
Q: What are your goals with football? If football does not work out, then what?
I want to be involved in various areas of business. I have many interests and passions and I feel as if I can bring a killer instinct to the business world, whether it be in real estate, management or marketing. I have networked with many people across various aspects of the business world and I know that from their feedback I can do big things and run my own company someday.
Q: How did you prepare for the National Scouting Combine and what are your expectations?
I have been training at Athletic Evolution in Woburn, MA for 3 years now. I have built a strong relationship with the coaches and staff and decided it was the best decision for me to continue to train there for my combine/pro day. I train twice a day 6x a week. It is a lot of work, but the knowledge I have gained has been invaluable. It is basically my second home as I spend half of my days there. I expect to have solid numbers at every test and I am excited about just getting out there and running great routes.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
My ultimate achievement would to be to hit top 5-10 in each workout. I want to be someone who stands out in every drill.
Q: If you have to compare yourself to a current pro player, who would it be and why?
I would compare myself to Steve Smith Sr. He has been my top two favorite players ever since I started playing football. My first jersey was #89 and he has always been a killer on the field. He plays the game with so much emotion and intensity because he wasn’t given the opportunity he deserved. He can go across the middle and take the hits and keep on moving as well as going deep down the field for homerun plays. We have a similar stature and that has always been what people will look at or talk about, but we both play the game with so much passion and never give up. Another big reason is that he blocks. A lot of receivers don’t like to be involved in the run game, but both he and I love to hit when we get the chance. Football is a team game and receivers cant take plays off during run plays because that could be the difference between a small gain or a homerun if all 11 do their jobs.