Levon Myers absorbed the question, paused, took a deep breath and said, "Good question. Let me think about that."
The former Northern Illinois offensive tackle wasn't asked to use his marketing degree to dissect the digital campaign of a Fortune 500 company. Or to break down the zone-blocking schemes of NFL teams that may fit his skill set. It was simply, "Describe your game to someone who has never seen you play."
Off the field, Levon Myers is pensive and calculated. On the field, he's responsibly impulsive and violent.
"I play the game with a lot of energy, intensity and violence," Myers told HERO Sports. "I consider myself to be a really good athlete as an offensive lineman."
He arrived at Northern Illinois in 2012 as two-star offensive tackle from the Milwaukee, Wis., suburb of Franklin. He was one of four commits in the Huskies' 2012 class to pick them over Power Five teams. For the all-state player, it meant passing on a late offer from Wisconsin, who has dominated in-state recruiting of offensive linemen for much of the last decade.
"Levon has decided not to accept the scholarship offer from UW," his father Marion Myers told Scout.com five days before National Signing Day. "There are many reasons for this, but most of all, he felt that he did not have any real connection with anyone at UW and most of all, he should honor his commitment to NIU because he honors his word. This is how we have raised him."
After redshirting in 2012 and appearing in six and 14 games off the bench in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Myers exploded as a junior in 2015. Now a well-built 6-foot-5, 309-pounder, Myers finished his career with 26 consecutive starts at left tackle, earning two All-MAC Second-Team selections. He helped Northern Illinois rush for 2,661 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2015 and was part of an offensive line that allowed eight sacks in 2016, the fewest in the country.
Five years after passing on one of the premier linemen factories in college football, he's fighting for an opportunity in the NFL. As Myers prepares for the NFL Draft, we caught up with him to discuss his college career, draft prep and more.
Why Northern Illinois?
The family atmosphere. I felt like I was a member of the family before I was on the team. They let us go in the locker room after games and celebrate. From the guys I talked to that went there, it was a close-knit group.
Did you think about the NFL five years ago?
Since I started playing football at 12 years old, the NFL was something I thought would be really cool … but I knew a lot of things had to go right for me. I had to really develop my skills to get to hat point. It was something I wanted to do but didn’t seem realistic because it was so far away.
When did you realize you had a shot at the NFL?
It was definitely 2015 during my junior season that I realized that I had the ability.
After the 2012 regular season, head coach Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State and was replaced by Rod Carey, Northern Illinois' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. How did that coaching change affect you?
Coach Doeren recruited me, but Coach Carey also recruited me because his area was Wisconsin.
Honestly there wasn’t much of change … because the offensive system was the same. We kept most of our coaching staff, so it wasn’t as big of a transition as most head coaching changes.
Who is an opposing team or player you most enjoyed competing against?
I always enjoyed when we'd play Toledo, because that was kind of our rivalry. And Ball State too. I don’t know why but I always enjoyed going against them.
What specifically have you been working on since the end of the season?
Just things like core strength and speed to put up the best numbers as possible.
Who is an NFL player at your position that you most enjoy watching?
Eagles’ tackle Jason Peters. He’s really athletic for an offensive lineman and good at blocking in space. If there’s someone I’ve tried to take things from and learn from, it’s him.
Have you talked to former teammates or others that have prepared for the draft?
I’ve talked to as many former college teammates as I can, and I’ve worked with guys who have had long careers [in the NFL]. One guy is Ryan Diem, who played at NIU and had a long career with the Colts. I’ve been working with him a lot and will continue to.
Overall I’ve been trying to get as much advice as possible on how to handle the combine, interviews, private workouts and things to say, things not to say, how to carry yourself.
Do you check out projections and mock drafts?
I try to avoid looking at that stuff. It doesn’t mean a ton but I still hear a lot of it from my parents, friends and family. They’ll send me stuff but I try to ignore that.
What is one thing that highlight tape or stats don’t show about you?
I think I have very good character. The stats or highlight films won’t show you that.
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