Braeden X. Loftus | Eastern New Mexico University | OL/DT
Twitter: @Bfox66 | Instagram: @wyse_fox66
Q: Tell us about your college career and what the recruiting process was like. Why did you choose Eastern New Mexico University?
A: I started my college career at a junior college in Phoenix, AZ where I was a DL. After sitting a year for some academic troubles, I was able to take the field again and ended up finishing my JUCO career as an OL. When deciding which university to go to next, I was very concerned about the level of competition within in the conference, this was the key determinant in the choice to play for ENMU. They play in the LoneStarConference, which consists of nine Texas D2 programs; a conference that sends players to NFL teams every year.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: One of the biggest accomplishments of my sports career, would be being selected to play in the 2020 DreamBowl Showcase; where I earned a starting role at C and helped lead my team to winning the DreamBowl Championship. Also, I would add winning ENMU’s first ever postseason bowl game, the 2019 Heritage Bowl. On the way to this bowl game, we broke ENMU’s single season rushing record and led the nation in rushing yards per game, 9 weeks out of 11.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Eastern New Mexico University?
A: At my JUCO, my offensive line coach was a man named Tavon Rooks. He had just retired from the NFL that year and brought with him the importance of gaining an advantage on opponents through film study. He was extremely passionate about competing every play and taught us that hard work and determination are keys to finding success on/off the field. At ENMU, my coaches were very traditional and preached the importance of practice.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: Business Administration. After retiring from the NFL, I plan on owning and operating a training facility/rehab center. Where I intend to give back to my country, by allowing service veterans free access to rehabilitation.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: I do my best not to speak in the place of others but, I believe they would say that I am extremely determined and have a serious passion for football. Being a leader on the team, they would say that I knew how to bring the best out of the guys around me.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: A play that jumps to my mind was in the 2020 Dream Bowl played this last January. It was an outside zone run play and after getting good movement on the 3 tech; I reached the 2nd level and got my hands on a 2X 1st team All-Conference MLB and finished him to the ground with a nice pancake block. This allowed the running back to break for a 40+yard TD, which was the longest run in the All-Star game.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge has been being so far away from my younger brother and sister. Growing up I played a major role in raising them. After my junior year of high school, I had to put my football life on hold due to unfortunate circumstances within my household. Sacrificing everything, I choose to step in as the main provider for my younger siblings. Working two full-time jobs, I was able to get my family into a more stable situation, allowing me to finally pursue my football passion. I manage this challenge by remaining positive, keeping my destination in sight, and taking the time to remember the reasons I made those sacrifices.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: As a big man who moves very well, I have played multiple positions on both sides of the line. That being said, I believe I share similarities with Ndamukong Suh (DT) and Travis Frederick (C). Both men have the ability to change the game from the interior line and play with a “nastiness” that I believe is a lost art.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: My biggest strength is my persistent determination and my burning desire to play in the NFL. This desire has allowed me to develop the ability to learn and adapt quickly; which enables me to play a multiple of positions at an elite level. I believe my footwork also sets me apart because I have an extremely quick first step that allows me to win reach blocks and get to the next level easily.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back”/” pay it forward” in your community?
A: Growing up without a father, mentors were extremely important in my early development. Because of this, I have developed a passion for “paying it forward” and I practice this lifestyle every day. By participating in everything from community service, mentoring youth football players, donating to food drives, and volunteering for local school districts. My intent is to pass along the lessons I have learned from having an troubled childhood because unfortunately many children face similar experiences today.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2020 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am currently participating in football specific training exercises and lifts. As well as working on proper posture and footwork techniques. At the NSC event, my goal is to showcase my elite agility to the scouts, with the intent of earning an invite to a camp. This is where my true talents will shine as I compete to earn a spot on the team.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: My ultimate achievement would be playing in a Super Bowl and allowing my story to inspire the next generation of footballers to persevere.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: I am a big fan of the outdoors, I also enjoy reading, and teaching myself songs on the guitar.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: Someone whose guidance I value at the highest level, would be a gentleman by the name of Darrell Tannatt. As a successful businessman and a dedicated family man, Mr. Tannatt embodies the person I am striving to be. After Mr. Tannatt heard the story of my perseverance, he became extremely supportive of my passion and provided me with vital wisdom needed to achieve my dream.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: Before my heart was set on playing in the NFL, I wanted to be a Navy Seal. The level of skill and dedication it takes to join either ranks are a perfect match for a man with my ambition.