Grind or get ate. GOGA. That is the motto of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief each time he works out, goes to practice or prepares for a game in a Colts’ uniform. His father was a junior college standout for Jones County Junior College (JCJC) in Ellisville, Mississippi but he gave up on his football dreams after playing at Southern Illinois University.
For Moncrief, his father served as a motivation to remind him of his goal to be a NFL player every day.
Growing up in Sylvarena, Mississippi, a town that has a population of only 120 people, Moncrief did not let this stop him. GOGA. From Raleigh High School, to Ole Miss and now to his second season in the NFL, the GOGA mindset remains in full throttle.
Moncrief talked with The Red Diamond Report about growing up in Sylvarena Mississippi, his motivation for the game, his family and his growth as a player.
1. When did you begin playing football as a child?
Moncrief: I started playing football outside at age 5 with my cousins. I was the youngest of them all and it was a lot of us.
2. Who motivated or inspired you to play football at a young age? Why?
Moncrief: My pops motivated me because he played ball and he was great at it.
3. How deeply rooted was sports in your family?
Moncrief: Sports was always something in my family. My father was a star junior college player for Jones County Junior College (JCJC) and was one of the top defensive backs in the nation. He then went on to play for the Salukis at Southern Illinois University.
4. How was life for you growing up in Raleigh, Mississippi? What was everyday life for you as a young boy and as a teenage athlete?
Moncrief: I grew up and lived in a small town outside of Raleigh called Sylvarena. The only thing we had to do was to play sports all day long. I didn’t have a cell phone or nothing.
5. What is one of your favorite NFL memories that inspired you to play as a child?
6. What’s one of your favorite childhood sports memories?
Moncrief: I dunked in my seventh grade basketball game.
7. What middle school did you go to? What do you remember the most about as it relates to sports?
Moncrief: I went to Raleigh Middle School and I noticed my team was always bigger than other teams we played against.
8. You went to Raleigh High School. Take a step back to reflect on this experience. What do you remember the most about it? How did it help you become the player you are today?
Moncrief: We were good at all sports and I had great friends. I played on a team with some great athletes that was older than me. Chris Lofton and Jamie Bender were some of my teammates. Lofton plays major league baseball and Jamie Bender plays arena football.
9. Who were your high school coaches? What did they stress to you in high school to be the best athlete you could be?
Moncrief: My high school coaches were Durwood Anderson, Jeremiah Keyes and Larry Means. They stressed to me that grades came before sports.
10. What is one of your best memories from Raleigh High School? Why?
Moncrief: I was excited when I was selected for Dandy Dozen because no one had ever been chosen from Raleigh High School.
11. I saw that you played basketball, ran track as a two-time, 3A State champion in long jump and played basketball at Raleigh? What made you choose football as your main sport?
Moncrief: I went with my gut feeling that football was my best chance to make it to the professional level. My dad was good in football so I knew I would be.
12. You went off to college to play football ball at Ole Miss. Talk a little about this experience. How was the transition from high school, prominent small town athlete in Raleigh to big-time SEC standout?
Moncrief: Ole Miss had more people so I actually had to train to be a starter instead of things being given to me off of God given talent.
13. What are some things you took away from your days at Ole Miss that you still use today in your everyday life and in the game?
Moncrief: Family will always be first. Stay focused. GRIND OR GET ATE.
14. What impact did head coach Hugh Freeze have on your growth as a football player?
Moncrief: He taught me a lot of things I did not know about the game of football and life in general.
15. You were drafted in the third round, 90th overall in the 2014 draft by the Colts. Explain your feelings and emotions on draft day. What did you think about the most?
Moncrief: My dream came true. As a child, I wanted to make it to the professional level because my dad gave up on his chance to go take care of my mom and siblings.
16. You are in your second season with the Indianapolis Colts. What did you learn the most from Year 1?
Study The Game !! Know Your Opponent … #GOGA
— Donte Moncrief (@drm_12) September 15, 2015
// Moncrief: I learned that you have to study your opponent or you will lose.
17. What’s it like playing in the NFL and playing with quarterback Andrew Luck and with coach Chuck Pagano?
Moncrief: It is good to have a quarterback in Andrew Luck who studies film and knows what he wants. Coach Pagano is a great man and a positive guy. He loves to win.
18. What is your overall goal for this season personally and as a player of the team?
Moncrief: My overall goal is to do whatever it takes to get to the Super Bowl and win a championship.
19. Who serves as a role model for you on the team and why?
Moncrief: T.Y. Hilton serves as a role model for me. He is a focused player. He zones in on the small things about the game, making him the great player that he is.
20. Did you ever get discouraged while finding your way into the NFL? If so, how?
Moncrief: I did not.
21. How was the transition from college to the NFL?
Moncrief: The SEC is a baby NFL.
22. If you had to describe yourself in 1-2 sentences, what would you say?
Moncrief: I am a hard working guy. (GOGA) Grind or get ate.
23. If you could be one Superhero and one past athlete, who would you be?
Moncrief: I would be Jerry Rice and The Hulk.
24. What was one life changing moment for you growing up being an athlete and how did it impact you?
Moncrief: Getting my first offer to be a college athlete was truly a life changing moment for me.
Full Name: Donte Rakeem Moncrief
Hometown: Raleigh, Mississippi
Team: Indianapolis Colts
Parents: Spencer and Nineta Moncrief
Position: Wide Receiver
Life Motto: Grind or Get Ate (GOGA)
Favorite athlete growing up and why: Julio Jones is my favorite athlete because he is big receiver and he long jumped in high school like me.
Favorite team growing up and why: Kansas City Chiefs was my favorite team because of Priest Holmes.
Something that makes you stand out: I am tall and fast. That is a bad combination.
Why you chose Ole Miss to play college football: I went to Ole Miss because of Dexter McCluster. Watching him play was electrifying to me.