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Meet the Definition of an Underdog: Linebacker Chris Orr

Chris Orr – Linebacker – Wisconsin

2020 NFL Draft Prospect Bio:

Chris Orr is a do-it-all linebacker who recorded 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 78 tackles in his senior season at Wisconsin. He’s currently ranked as the 25th best linebacker and projected to go in the 6th-7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

This Interview, conducted by Daniel Alameda of TWSN was edited for clarity.

“I want to be remembered as one of the greatest ever” 

Chris Orr

With the mindset that former Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr has, anything is possible. Although he grew up in a football family with a father who won 2 super bowls with the Redskins and a brother who played for 3 years with the Ravens, he is still being underrated, overlooked, and doubted.

On the surface, you may see an undersized, 5th year senior with only one year of college production, but in his own words, “People have to understand the full story, it’s deeper than what they realize.” Meet the definition of an underdog, Chris Orr. 

Chris was a three star high school recruit who had offers from Kansas, Nevada, Arkansas, North Texas, and Wisconsin. Although his brother, former NFL Linebacker Zach Orr, had gone to North Texas, Chris chose Wisconsin.

“I really resonated with who the Badgers are as a program as they have an underdog story as well. They’re not just some big legendary program, Coach Alvarez put us on the map with walk-ons, so it’s ingrained in the Wisconsin Badgers to work. I just really resonated with the idea that you’re going to work for everything that you get up there at Wisconsin.”

After having a successful freshman season registering 46 tackles in 6 starts at linebacker, Chris was ready to dominate in his sophomore season. On the first snap of the season opener against LSU, Orr tore his ACL. He could have used this as an excuse to fail, but he instead used it as a time for personal growth.

“I always thought that I had an optimistic personality, but this made me truly live that. I volunteered a lot at the Children’s Hospital, and to see the smiles that you can put on peoples faces by playing football was great. They’re all looking up to you like you’re Superman, when in reality I’m looking at them like they’re Superman. The fact that they were still smiling despite what they were fighting through made me feel like I was dealing with a crumb.”

This was a crucial time for Orr as he understood that life is bigger than football. “I want  people to remember me as someone always with a smile on their face, and always putting smiles on other peoples faces. If I can do that, I’ll be smiling in my grave (laughs).”

The recovery process tremendously helped him grow as a football player as well. “It boosted my football IQ to a whole other level. I told my defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox that I can’t just sit here and do nothing, so he basically let me be his assistant. Working with him helped me get into the mind of a very successful coach and helped me learn how to operate a top defense in the nation.”

This process helped build onto what Orr considers to be his biggest strength, “I feel like I’m one of the smartest players in the country. It’s one of the biggest points of emphasis in my game”.

Chris played well his Junior and Senior years, but was never truly given a chance to lead the Wisconsin defense until his final season, and he excelled. “I was the vocal and emotional leader of the team and a top 10 defense in the country, so I knew that I had to be prepared for every situation. I made sure that we were dominating every team we played against, that I stepped up when things weren’t going well, and that I was spreading the love with everyone.”  

Once again, for any people who doubt him because he only had one “productive” season in college, “This was the first time that they ever let me go completely, it was like they took a leash off of me. I still have so much more to show, this was barely the tip of the iceberg.” 

Along with his talent and IQ, Chris brings a tremendous leadership presence to a locker room. Before every game, Chris led a pregame speech in order to get the Badgers prepared for the battle. He has always been a great leader, and an even better teammate who always has their best interests in mind. 

When talking about the greatest players he ever faced, “Derrick Henry, the 2015 Alabama defense, Curtis Samuel, and everyone of my teammates, ever! (laughs).”

Fellow teammate Zach Baun constantly praised his leadership, “The dude is just such a great leader, great player, great person that any team would be so lucky to have him.” Chris has constantly said that through thick and thin, he will have his teammates backs for life. 

Every year the NFL invites 336 prospects to the most highly anticipated workout of a football player’s career.  In 2020, despite being named Second Team All Big Ten, and leading the Badgers to a top 10 defense, Chris was not invited. “This definitely put a chip on my shoulder because my resume was definitely good enough to get me there. I’ve always been a highly self motivated individual, but this added extra motivation for sure.”

Despite not being invited to the Combine, Chris made the most out of every opportunity especially at the Wisconsin Pro Day. With all 32 NFL teams in attendance, he posted (when compared to the combine) the 13th fastest 40 yd dash, 6th best vertical jump, and the best 20 yard shuttle.

“I was definitely pleased with it. Apparently everyone was shocked with my numbers (laughs), as they said I outperformed expectations, but there is always stuff I’m looking to improve on”. Chris has time and time again stepped up to every opportunity and excelled.

“When I step on the field, I want everyone to know that they’re going to get hit in their mouth” 

When looking to his future in the NFL, Chris envisions a lengthy career for himself. “I want to win more super bowls than my dad (laughs), I want to become an all pro.” He has the football background, personality, and IQ to succeed in the NFL.

“I’ve tried modeling my game after guys like my brother Zach Orr, Bears legend Mike Singletary, Devin Bush, the list goes on. I’m a tenacious football player, physical. I bring a presence to the football field whether it’s on special teams or defense, and I’m looking to bring that to any organization.” If you’re an NFL team with a late round pick, there is no better addition to a locker room than Chris. 

Despite all of the adversity he has faced, only a 3 star recruit, tore his acl, didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine, and is now being projected by some people to go undrafted, despite all of this, he is optimistic and grateful for the position he’s in.

“I’m in a position that many people aren’t in so I’m going to take advantage of this. Even if he is a late round draft pick, Chris will undoubtedly overcome any obstacle that he faces in order to achieve what he wants. Keep doubting him and he’ll show you the definition of an underdog. 

Once again huge thanks to Chris Orr and his agency Team IFA for setting this interview up.

Follow @alameda_views on Instagram and @danielalameda11 on Twitter. 

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