Draft Zone Spotlight: Brian Arnfelt, DT, Northwestern University
Brian Arnfelt is fifth-year senior and was one of NU’s four 2012 team captains and a member of NU’s 12-player Leadership Council. Brian was the 2012 recipient of NU’s Brian Paynter “Ultimate Wildcat” Award, presented to a player who confronts adversity with courage and dedication and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District V team and second-team Capital One Academic All-American. Arnfelt stands at 6’5, 300 pounds and is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the field. In his first full year as a starter, Arnfelt finished the season with 25 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 passes deflected. I can see Arnfelt putting up some crazy numbers at his pro day, because the kid is a true leader.
How many teams were recruiting you coming out of high school and how did you make your decision?
About 4 or 5 schools were recruiting me hard, but once Northwestern offered, I knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. All the guys on the team were close with each other during my official visit, and that really helped cement my decision.
Has it always been your dream to be an NFL football player?
Absolutely. Growing up, I remember going over to my grandparents’ house and watching NFL games. I always thought that would be a cool sport to pursue.
Who was your favorite NFL team growing up, and did you have a player you rooted for?
I grew up in Minnesota and a lot of my family would watch Vikings games, but I have always enjoyed the game regardless of which team is playing. As far as favorite player, I grew up a huge fan of John Randle.
At your position, how do you break down film, please inform our readers what you look for when breaking down film?
I first watch opponents’ top runs, and see if I can catch any tendencies in formations or personnel. Then I look at their pass protections and see which lineman has strengths or weaknesses in a certain area. I really try to learn my opponent to my best ability because if I can understand what the team is doing offensively before the game, then reactions become more natural during the game.
What is the best accolade/award you have ever received from playing football?
My teammates and coaches have voted me “Captain” at my high school, MN High School All Star Game, and Northwestern University. It’s really an honor to be consistently recognized by those who work with you on a daily basis.
Now that your college football eligibility is up what’s your next move?
After we won the Gator Bowl on January 1, I went right to work. I have been training at TCBoost for the last 4 weeks and will continue to train there in preparation of NU’s Pro Day on March 5th.
When did you really feel you had a good chance of making your dream come true?
I knew I had a chance to live my dreams when I stepped foot on campus at Northwestern as a freshman. The resources are there, you just have to be willing to put the work and dedication into it, and I did.
What is your favorite food?
I like to think of myself as grill master, so I’d have to say steak.
Do you have any pre game rituals?
I always say a quick prayer asking for everyone to stay safe. Beyond that, I like to visualize myself executing the defense.
What would you tell NFL teams that are weary of taking a late round flyer on you?
I can promise that that the commitment to me is going to give you an amazing return on your investment. I am going to continue working my hardest because I believe that success is born through hard work, and I want not only myself, but also my team, to be successful.
If you could compare your play to someone in the NFL, who would it be?
Justin Smith on the 49ers.
What is the most tragic event in your life that has happened and how did you bounce back?
My Grandpa died in the spring of 2011 and he had always been a huge supporter of his grandchildren’s success. When he died, I knew that he would have wanted me to be my best at anything I participated in.
Who has had your back through the good and the bad as you’ve moved on balancing life as a student athlete?
My mother has always been there for me. She’s the one who drove me around on recruiting trips, she’s been to every game, and has always done everything she could for me. She inspires me to succeed.
What’s your plan if you go undrafted?
Get picked up as a free agent.
Everyone asks this question but I’m curious to know what will you buy first with your first NFL pay check?
A vacation for my mom
Finish this sentence for me, Come July 2013 I will be_________________?
Preparing to begin my first season in the NFL