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Interview: Is CFL Prospect Elie Ngoyi Dibwe (DE), Nearing the NFL?

Fresh off of a stellar CFL Combine showing where he put up 40 reps of 225lbs, Elie Ngoyi Dibwe put up four more reps than this year's NFL Combine bench press category leader. Elie Ngoyi Dibwe (END), is a 23 year-old, 6' 2", 270 lb. defensive linemen from Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He also just earned the Defensive Player of the Year award from Bishop's and an Excellence award from his home of Sherbrooke. We chatted about his dream to play in the NFL, his motivation, and if he believes he can fit into an NFL Defense.

Elie Ngoyi Dibwe in-game
Elie Ngoyi Dibwe in-game

Now, I know there are caveats to be made when watching Canadian Football. But let me put it like this; when you see a defensive guy rotating from what best translates as DL, DE, and OLB, blasting through and navigating around 300lb offensive linemen effortlessly and sacking QBs. It makes no difference whether those 300lb offensive linemen were playing Canadian or American Football, it's a clear sign of dominance at his position(s).

Elie totaled 38.5 tackles and 4.5 sacks in just 9 games recently. He brings with his game not only a toolbox of rush techniques that would make some Pro linemen shudder, but also an awareness for the ball that is uncanny. The most impressive thing I liked about him; he's a magnet for the ball and will go through anyone to stop the carrier.

Elie was born in the Congo, Africa and lived there until 10 years of age. His parents and five other siblings at the time...moved to Canada. It wasn't easy making the transition to such a new environment, complete with winters. His parents had to build themselves up from the bottom, and as Elie put it, "They did a pretty good job".

In a year where the Redskins are limited on what they can do, and having a few more needs, like pass rush depth. I got in touch with Elie to find out from him who he is, and if he can make it to the next level of football?

JW: How did your football career start?

END: I started playing football in grade 9, I didn't like it at first, but you know, I got the passion of the game. I remember my first practice, my first practice was very very hard because I didn't really like the contact that much, you know. Being out there and playing against the veterans was not something that I liked. Being hit from left to right. But then I matured, and I was the one giving the blows. That's when everything changed. Everything changed and I got that passion of the game, it taught me not only to be a football player, but also a man. Because of football I was able to continue school. I was going to continue school regardless, but football gave me that discipline to stay into school and if I need help talk to my Teacher and to work hard. But where I distinguish myself, is when I work harder than anyone else. I've been training by myself and I did everything to be able to go to the Combines and compete with the best, and I think I did a good job.

JW: Do you follow the NFL?

END: I do follow the NFL yeah, you know it's a great league, so I gotta follow the NFL.

JW: Who is your favorite NFL Team?

END: My favorite team is Cincinnati, I've been following Cincinnati since, High School days. So I've been a big fan of the Bengals. They need a play-maker on Offense though, but they're shaping up. A. J. Green cannot do all the work, and Andy Dalton as well. I hope they are going to get either a running back or receiver. I kind of thought that they would get Wes Welker, that would be a good addition. I like the Redskins as well, one of my friends actually played with RG3 at Baylor. Also, I have another friend that played with him, the Center Phil Blake, he plays for the Broncos.

JW: How familiar are you with NFL Defenses and where do you see yourself fitting into one? Like say, the 3-4 Defense the Redskins run.

END: I'm quite familiar with all of that, you know, playing 3-4 as an OLB might be a good thing, also being a DE, I'm not only size but I'm physical. I did run a fast 40 (4.94 forty at the CFL Combines), when I went out there a Track Coach saw me and was like, "Wow! You're running, you are so powerful when you run, if you can use this power, and use the motion with yourself, the gravity with you, for sure you can run a 4.6 or 4.5." So, I'll be training with this Track Coach from Montreal, in about two weeks, and I'm very excited for what he can teach me.

JW: What separates you from other DL in your league?

END: I work harder than them, that's for sure. If you come in my league, and you ask all of them, who is the guy that can also throw the ball, who is the most hard-working person in this league? I think they're going to say me. I always take pride to pursue into working hard on and off the field. Especially in the gym and in school, you know, you got to be good at school in order to be eligible. I take pride in working harder than the guy beside me, this is what separates me from men. Because of that, I think I am more powerful, more stronger, and I'm faster than all the DL in my league.

JW: Were you satisfied with the results you posted at the Combine?

END: I'm the type of person basically almost never satisfied. I went out there, put up good numbers and I dominated the 1 on 1's, but I think I could have done way better. I can only improve. I've just reached the bottom of my potential. I'm very very positive, if I keep working with guidance of people like the Track Coach I mentioned, he also studies in Kinesiology, he's going to help me be able to reach my full potential. Not to mention also, I didn't have a Defensive Linemen Coach for like 2 years, so this was a little bit hard on me.

JW: I have to mention a play I saw you make on a Youtube highlight reel. Where you came out of nowhere to make the tackle on a WR screen, that Receiver looked like he was gone.

END: Not to mention I was 275lbs. at that time. That was a great play, this just proves the play is never done until it's done. If the guy starts running I'm gonna chase him, and I'm gonna make the play. That's my mindset, I'm gonna chase him, I'm gonna go out there and make the play, that's exactly what happened. When you convince yourself you're going to go out there, you're gonna catch the guy, you do it, and things happen. This also proves I'm a very fast, athletic person, so that's a good thing too.

JW: If you don't mind, sum up your College Football career.

END: In college I mostly played DE, but I was also a situational person. I played inside, I played outside as well, and in my 3rd year I also played OLB a little bit in certain packages so that was a great experience. Starting from my rookie year, I did great at the Team Camp, dominated veterans, they were very upset. I took that experience into my second year and then basically, I've been double-teamed my whole life since. I always have two people on me. So you know, that's hard but it proves you're a good player. When they double-team me, of course it's hard but I just work harder to go past the guys and make the tackle or make the quarterback sack. Either I get double-teamed or the play is not going on my side.

JW: So, as soon as some Redskins Fans start reading about you; your size, your speed, the numbers you put up at the Combines. One thing they're gonna start thinking is Lorenzo Alexander. The "One Man Gang", especially when they start looking and they see, "Wait a minute, he's been doing multiple positions in college?" That guy you know, is an amazing, phenomenal athlete, and was a good leader on and off the field for the rest of the guys as well. Could you see yourself as that type of Team guy that could learn multiple positions and excel wherever you lined up?

END: I'm not trying to say, "I'm going to replace a guy". He's a great Athlete, a great person and everything. I think for sure I have the skills. Many people think I could have played running back or full back, I've heard many things, "You should be playing full back, you should be playing this position...". So I think I'm a very versatile Player. Not only am I strong on the inside, I played 3-Tech and also even 1-Tech. Even though I don't have the size to play 1-Tech, I still held the gap and I made tackles, I made plays. Athlete-wise of course I'll be able to do that. I can catch the ball, I can run with the ball, I run hard-I run fast, so If I get myself compared to this guy, then you know that's a blessing. Just, I'm going to go out there and prove to them that I'm just, "that guy", so this is it.

JW: How motivated would you be if contacted by an NFL Team?

END: I'm highly motivated, if I get a shot, a chance to show what I can do, I'm going to show them everything. It's a big dream for every young kid, and if I had the opportunity to go out there and achieve that, it would be a blessing, something I would cherish. I'm not going to go out there and just be overwhelmed by the situation. I'm gonna go out there and actually work really hard to be able to secure something.

JW: Do you anticipate that you will be continuing to the next level, CFL or NFL?

END: It's hard, coming from a small school I didn't get enough exposure. I'm probably not going to be drafted because I didn't get enough exposure. But if I can get a call after that would be something, that would be great. Let me tell you something though, when I go out there if I get picked up, they're never going to see someone work as hard as me, that's for sure.

For a guy with no legion of Specialty Coaches, Agents, and Media. Elie really impressed me from beginning to end. What the future holds for him, no one knows. But he definitely earned himself a Fan during this interview.