Kansas State Center B.J. Finney is exactly what NFL teams covet in a football player. He’s consistent, reliable and is a natural leader. Pro Player Insiders had an opportunity to catch-up with Finney, who is just days away from officially becoming an NFL player.
“I grew up in Clearwater, Kansas which is southwest of Wichita, Kansas,” said Finney. “I have three older sister — Nicole, Valeen and Tiff. My dad passed away in 2004. I went to Andale High School which is northwest of Wichita.”
B.J. Finney lost his father at an early age, but says his father still had a major impact on his life. “There’s a lot of people who have been influential on my life — depending on the instance; but I would say the biggest one would have to be my father,” said Finney. “He taught all of us life lessons at such a young age that sticks with us now; kind of who we want to be and to keep that in mind whenever we go to do something.”
One thing that’s unique about B.J. Finney is he was a walk-on at Kansas State. His journey of walking-on campus, competing and solidifying himself as a starter speaks of his character and relentless spirit.
“When I walked on, I was behind two fifth year seniors at center,” he said. “My position coach Charlie Dickey told me that it would be on me as to whether I’d earn a scholarship or a spot on the field. My redshirt season killed me being on the sideline because I couldn’t contribute on Saturdays. So I did everything I could through the week to push our defense (because I was on scout team offense). I did everything I could to push them and to make them better. I worked relentlessly and the coaches took notice of it. Everything they asked me to do, I did it as best as I could. When they decided to move me to center, I started learning everything from the upperclassmen so that way I knew in the spring that I would have a leg up and have a shot at being a starter. Then when spring rolled around, I really just studied the game, continued to work relentlessly and I solidified my starting spot.”
After successfully walking on and eventually becoming a starter, B.J. Finney earned the respect of his peers. Finney became the first offensive lineman in school history to be voted a team captain three times. Finney says it was a huge honor.
“Me voted captain — being voted on by your fellow players and teammates — and coaches don’t have an influence on it. So for them to elect me and then re-elect me three times, it’s just a huge honor. It let me know that I had their respect and that they thought I embodied the program that we were trying to succeed in. So that was a huge blessing and a huge honor.”
The pre-draft process for many players can be both draining and exciting. For B.J. Finney, he says it’s been a blast. Having an opportunity to meet team officials and coaches is invaluable and Finney took full advantage of it. “Honestly, I’ve met a lot of great people — lot of great coaches,” he said. “The only thing I’ve tried to do is put my best foot forward in those situations and to perform at the highest level I can. I was able to do that at the Shrine game and at the combine. Just to get face-to-face with them and just have that time to show them and sell myself to them (which is ultimately what we’re all trying to do) is a lot of fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
B.J. Finney’s film speaks for itself. In four years at Kansas State, he only allowed 2.5 sacks — which is pretty insane. The guy can ball. But in the pre-draft process, part of it is selling yourself — your brand to teams. What Finney has promoted to teams is that he’s consistent, passionate about football and relentlessly pursues his goals.
“For me, one of the nicknames I’ve been given by some of the older Wildcats players is Mr. Consistency,” he said. “I play at the same level — I don’t get emotional or let emotions run in my game. I keep calm and level headed. I like being at the Center position to make the calls and get the offensive line in the best situation possible for blocking; and ultimately have the best hole or the best pocket for the Quarterback or Running Back. I like being the guy in pressure situations to make those calls. I like the responsibility. For me, I had 52 career starts — I have longevity — I was healthy and I fought through it all. The more we started to get down by, the harder I fought. Like you said, I’ve been elected captain three times. Players called me ‘dad.’ So there’s just a lot of things I could do for a team. I’ll be the hardest worker they’ve met. I’ll always work towards achieving a goal and then set another one and keep working towards it.”
Finney went on to discuss his versatility and how it could help him on the next level. “Whatever scheme I get put in, I want to do my best to learn that position and to be the best at executing that offensive scheme,” he said. “For me, versatility has been a big thing and its honestly something that’s helped me out along the way. Not only can I play Center, but I can also play both Left and Right Guard. At Kansas State, we do run a multiple scheme offense. If you can think it — we probably have it in the playbook. So, there’s not too many things that I’m unfamiliar with.”
With the NFL Draft now less than a week away, B.J. Finney is just excited about having an opportunity to become a member of an NFL club. But most importantly, being able to experience it with his family. “I’m going to be back home with my family watching the draft,” said Finney. “Just having a day to celebrate as a family — the draft is just kind of a bonus. We don’t get to have get-together a whole lot. So just the opportunity for us to get-together is a huge blessing. It’ll be a lot of fun no matter which team calls.”
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