An athletic freak at nearly 330 pounds, Southeast Missouri defensive tackle Josh Avery is a disruptive force in the middle who oftentimes swallows up multiple bodies on each snap, allowing his teammates to make plays. Somewhat of an unsung hero, his performance hasn’t been overlooked by NFL scouts, as nearly every team has been to campus to check in on the Nashville native. Blessed with great strength, Avery owns a 30” vertical jump, can squat 530, bench 465 and clean 325 pounds. In 2019, he registered 20 tackles, including six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Get to know one of the premier nose tackle prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? When did you begin playing football and when did you realize that you have a passion for the game of football?
I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. I began playing football when I was five years old. It was a youth league team and our team name was Una Bears. A few years later, I was on another youth league team called Gray-Mar and we played the Una Bears in the championship. My team lost and it really devastated me as well as my teammates. We had worked so hard for our game and came up short. This motivated me to work harder and encourage my teammates to fix the little things, so we don’t come up short.
When a NFL scout pops in your game film, what type of player should they expect to see?
They would see someone who is confident in their game but needs maybe some minor fixes, looking from an NFL standpoint.
What was your offseason like heading into 2019 and what areas of your game did you work on to improve upon?
More running to be better conditioned and more film study on myself to see what adjustments I can make to be a better player.
What type of leadership intangibles do you bring to the table? Explain your leadership style.
I lead by example. My actions are an accurate reflection of who I am as a leader.
Name a point during your college career when you had to overcome adversity. What did you learn from that experience?
When I transferred to Southeast Missouri, I had to sit out my first year and I was devastated because I was ineligible to play. However, I bought into my role as a player and was a good scout team player to help our offense. I learned that I could have been in a worse situation. It taught me a life lesson that everybody goes through something, it is all about perseverance.
What was it like growing up in your hometown? Did you live any other places?
Just your typical hometown, I suppose. For me, it was mostly sports and school. I grew up in East Nashville but moved to Antioch for a good amount of school years.
Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced thus far in your career, either overall team or an individual? How did you fare?
The toughest opponent I played against as an individual is Drew Forbes. He’s so technical with his game. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I definitely had to make some adjustments playing against him.
What is something people might not know about you or something that separates you from other players?
Personally, I am a really good swimmer and that shocks others because most people would not expect that from me. Something that distinguishes me from others is that I am unique. There won’t be another me.
If you could bring one teammate with you, who would you bring?
Zach Hall. I trust him. He is 100 miles per hour the whole game. If I miss a tackle, he’s got my back.
*The ninth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be held on Saturday, January 18th at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Be sure to tune in on NFL Network at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST!