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Player Interview: Defensive Lineman Brandon Tamsett

Brandon Tamsett Zooma via Flickr


Brandon Tamsett, Defensive Lineman, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

TSJ Sports had the opportunity to talk with defensive lineman Brandon Tamsett from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as he prepares for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Warhawks play in NCAA Division III’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Brandon attended Waterford-Union High School in his hometown of Waterford, Wisconsin. As a Wolverine, he participated in football, tennis, wrestling, and powerlifting. He was also the recipient of the Brave Heart Award.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was Tamsett’s college of choice because of their reputation and for the experience. During his freshman season with the Warhawks, Brandon played primarily as a backup defensive tackle. The following season, he played in all 15 games as a starter on the defensive line. With 43 tackles, he led the Warhawks’ defensive linemen in 2014. His 9.5 tackles-for-a-loss were tied for ninth in the WIAC. He also recorded 3.5 sacks.

Tamsett appeared in all 14 games of the 2015 season, totaling 48 tackles and 3.5 sacks. As a result of his performance, he earned the team’s Karl Schlender Most Improved Award. He also earned second-team All-West Region and first-team All-WIAC honors.

In his final season with the Warhawks, Brandon totaled 48 tackles and 5.0 sacks. Not only did he earn AFCA All-American honors, he was named the 2016 WIAC Defensive Player of the Year.

As an occupational safety major, he has received several academic accolades as well. Brandon was named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll in 2014. For the fall semester in both 2014 and 2015, he made the Dean’s List.

Question and Answer Session

Who did you look up to as you were growing up?

“My father, Bernard Tamsett, is the person I admire most. He has always been someone I have looked up to. When I was young, I looked up to my dad because he would spend time with me and push me to try new things. However, as I have grown older, I realized that there are many other reasons I admire my father. For example, he lost his father at a very young age, causing him to grow up fast and eventually join the Marines. He fought in Vietnam as a tunnel rat. He’s worked hard to get to where he is today and provide my brother and I with a great life. That’s why I look up to him. It shows if you want something in life, you have to be willing to work for it. I also admire him because he always finds a way to make it to all my games, no matter where I am playing, to show his support. Lastly, I admire how much my dad cares for his family and helps me out with anything.”

How did he help to shape you into the person that you are now?

“My father has shaped me into the person I am today by showing me not to give up and give everything all my effort. For example, coming out of high school I wasn’t recruited by a single college team to continue playing football. Instead of giving up and just moving on, I worked hard. I was a walk-on at Wisconsin-Whitewater and played an amazing 4 years. He also has shaped me into the person I am today by showing me that with everything going on in life, there is always time for others.”

When did you begin playing organized football and why?

“I began playing football when I was 6-years-old for the Eagles in Racine. The reason I began playing football was because I love the brotherhood of a bunch of guys coming together for one main goal.”

Are there any particular NFL players, past or present, that have influenced the way you play or that you aspire to perform like at the next level?

“The one NFL player that sticks out in my mind that has influenced the way I play is J.J. Watt. Not only was he a walk-on at Wisconsin like me at Whitewater, but also how he prepares for each individual game and keeps his body healthy. I first saw J.J. Watt 6 years ago at the gym. We have the same trainer and just watching how he pushed himself everyday either lifting or practicing drills on the bags influenced me to believe that anything is possible as long as you work hard for it.”

What role have your coaches over the years played in you choosing to go to the next level?

“The roles my coaches have played in me deciding to go to the next level are having the right mindset to go against any opponent. Also, coaching and preparing me to be the best player I can be on the field as well as off the field.”

If you were analyzing yourself as a player, what would you say your strengths are? Weaknesses?

“My strengths as a player are focusing on the detail, giving maximum effort each play, constant communication with teammates, reaction time, coping with pressure situations, and lastly, quickness and powerful. Some weaknesses are body size, coordination and aerobic endurance.”

Off the field, what has your preparation for the upcoming draft been?

“Off the field, my preparation for the upcoming draft has been training with my trainer, Brad Arnett, at NX Level. I have been training with Brad for 6 years. He has helped me push myself to get better everyday and get me ready for each season.”

How does it feel to be the first Whitewater defensive player to receive the honor of WIAC Defensive Player of the Year since Cole Klotz in 2013?

“It feels really good to see all of my hard work paying off. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches along the way. They are the ones who really make me a better player by pushing me everyday to be successful.”

You made the Dean’s List for the fall semester in both 2014 and 2015. You also made WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll in 2014. How difficult was it to maintain that level of performance in your academics while also maintaining such an impressive performance athletically?

“At times it was stressful, but the coaches were always there to help. The coaches would set up study tables throughout the week to help get our homework or questions we had on certain topics done. The coaches also would help set up a calendar to make sure, as a student, you were organized and knew when everything was due and needed to be handed in.”

Do you see yourself as a role model to younger players?

“I see myself as a role model to younger players because I help other teammates get better on the field by helping them with plays or drills they might not understand. Also, not going out drinking and instead focusing on my studies for school. Lastly, pushing myself in the weight room to do the best I can while helping others do the same thing.”

If you could speak to the 32 NFL organizations, what message would you give them about what you would bring to an NFL team if selected?

“If I could speak to all 32 NFL organizations, the message I would give them is that I will always be on time for all events. I’m a very coachable athlete who just wants to learn from the best. I have a great attitude towards all decisions. I make eye contact when speaking directly toward me.”