Northern Illinois J.J. Lippe Interview

Mason Thompson | April 9th, 2020

With the draft a little over two weeks away, everyone is rapidly trying to churn out mock drafts and scouting reports. While this is always the case, it’s also time to look ahead to the future. Scouts always do years of work in advance for future drafts and that is what I will do here.

J.J. Lippe is a redshirt freshman at Northern Illinois University from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is an offensive lineman that primarily plays center that has the ideal size for the next level, coming in at 6’5″ and 296 pounds. Lippe earned first-team all-region, as well as first-team All-North Shore Conference honors at Whitefish Bay High School. He was also a two-year varsity letter winner and was selected to the Wisconsin All-Star Game and is going to NIU to major in business.

Now, Lippe is set to make strides for the Huskies. I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him and ask him a few questions and walk through his football career, as well as learn about some of his future aspirations for his football career.

Question: What should fans know about you?

Answer: Fans should know that I’m a really hard worker and want to try to put NIU back on the map again. We won a MAC Championship in 2018 but the new culture that we are building under Coach Hammock is going to be around a lot longer. We’re going back to the old roots of NIU by doing the little things right by being the “bullies” of the MAC so to say. We want to get back to the physical style of football and make teams not want to play us.

Question: How did you find your passion for football?

Answer: My passion for football came a little later than most. I grew up watching the Packers with my father every Sunday. I loved watching football with my dad and was always fun watching the Packers. At first, I didn’t really like playing football. I was always the chubby kid that didn’t play a lot growing up and wasn’t really athletic. What really hit the switch for me was in my freshman year when I got bullied and was told I was weak and that I should kill myself. I wanted to prove all of those people wrong and I’ve been doing it ever since and it lit a fire in me to get better and better every day. I was rarely in the weight room up until my junior year of high school. I was a late bloomer and went from 6’1 to 6’5 in the matter of one year in high school and put on over 40 pounds before my senior season. I wanted people to know that if they told me I couldn’t do anything, that I was going to do it.

Question: What are some expectations for you and the Huskies for next season?

Answer: We want to win the MAC Championship again and that’s our goal every year. Another goal for us is to play in one of the New Year’s Six Bowl Games to play against the big dogs because we’re capable of competing with them. Last season we had a lot of moving parts under a new coaching staff by adding a new offense and defense. This year, we had a really good spring and everyone is buying in. We’re hoping to put that on display for everyone this year.

Question: Who do you model your game after the most and why?

Answer: One of the players I model my game after is David Bakhtiari. I grew up as a Packer fan so I watched him play every Sunday. Even though I play center, I still use some of his techniques, specifically his feet. Another player I model myself after is Jason Kelce, as he is one of the best centers in the league, as well as Quenton Nelson because he’s always got that smashmouth mentality. A celebrity that I relate to is Dwayne Johnson. There was a speech he did in front of the Lakers that I found on YouTube that I identified with a lot from personal experiences. I listen to this interview before workouts or if I’m not as motivated as I should be and it gets me back on track. In the interview, he explains his experiences of being beaten out at Miami by Warren Sapp. He then moved on to the CFL, where he got cut and was left with little to no money and now he’s one of the biggest celebrities in the nation.

Question: What are you doing to prepare for next season?

Answer: I’m trying to prepare for the next season as much as I can. I work out in my basement with a little squat rack and also doing agility workouts just so I can stay in shape.

Question: Do you plan on going pro?

Answer: I do plan on going pro. Going pro has always been a dream of mine. I want to become a three or four-year starter at NIU. I redshirted last year and I really want to make it to the NFL.

Question: What do you do in your spare time?

Answer: In my spare time, I’m just like any other average kid. I play video games a lot like Fortnite or 2K, obviously, I love playing Madden. I play a lot of sports with my brother still, especially during the quarantine like pick up basketball. My brother is a Louisville baseball commit so I go play catch with him. I like to watch movies and reconnect with friends from high school.

Question: What made you choose NIU? 

Answer: I walked away with 28 offers after my senior year. I kept working to get better and it showed by the end of my senior year. I was heading back from Ball State on a Sunday and was really thinking about committing there. I was going to visit Fordham later in the week and had a good feeling about Fordham as well. I got a call on Sunday of the last week of recruiting from Coach Agpalsa, who is the offensive line coach, saying that if I came down for a visit, I’d have an offer. I canceled the trip to Fordham, which was a difficult decision, and went to NIU and it’s been the greatest decision I’ve made since. It’s only two hours away from my home, which is perfect if I need to go home on the weekends. NIU has great facilities and a winning atmosphere. I love it.

I’d like to thank J.J, for his time and look forward to seeing him have success at NIU.

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