Oregon State OL Brandon Kipper talks NY Jets visit, 2023 NFL Draft in interview
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets have met with quite a few prospects in the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft. One of those prospects is Oregon State offensive lineman Brandon Kipper.
The Jets met with Kipper at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in February and have kept tabs on him throughout the pre-draft process. Given the team's obvious desire to bolster their offensive line, he's a player they could look to target in the draft.
Kipper was a four-year starter at Oregon State who became a cornerstone of the team's offense. With experience at both offensive tackle and guard, Kipper's versatility could intrigue a number of NFL teams.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Brandon to discuss everything from his football journey to the upcoming draft to his off-field hobbies and interests.
Below is only a partial transcription of our interview. To watch the interview in its entirety, be sure to click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss out on any additional content.
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The pre-draft process
Justin Fried: "How has the whole pre-draft process been for you? What's this experience been like?"
Brandon Kipper: "When you've been doing this for as long as I have, this is the dream. It's been a hell of a ride so far, and I'm sure it's just getting started. I got married two weeks ago, so throwing that into this whole process has been hectic. I'm trying to just take it day by day."
Brandon Kipper's wrestling journey
JF: "Congrats on getting married, that's awesome! Let's take a little bit about before you got to Oregon State. You were a very accomplished wrestler in high school. What was it that made you decide to get into wrestling?"
BK: "In sixth grade, they had an announcement on the school intercom stating there were tryouts for wrestling team. Being a dumb sixth grader who was a big fan of Jeff Hardy and Triple H, I thought it was WWE wrestling. Me and my friend went to this meeting after school and very quickly found out it wasn't that type of wrestling. I hated it in the beginning, but my mom had a rule that I had to be in a sport year-round. I grew to appreciate wrestling because it's one of those things that no one is good at when they first start. My schools weren't good at football, but they were wrestling schools. I was fortunate enough to have a very good coach who shaped me and who was a father figure for many years of my life. It was a great thing for me. It really molded my personality in a lot of ways."
JF: "How does your wrestling background help you as an offensive lineman?"
BK: "Oh yeah. I always said wrestling was the greatest thing I ever did for my football career. There are a lot of physical tools that can apply to it, but for me, it was the mentality. I've been playing college football at a very high level for six years now, and I have never experienced anything in football that has been as mentally and physically demanding as wrestling was. Wrestling tests your will. Those mental challenges really shaped my grit and mental toughness. I've been able to apply that to many aspects of my life, not just football, but as a man."
Transferring from Hawaii to Oregon State
JF: "You originally attended the University of Hawaii for one season before transferring to Oregon State. What was the thought process behind that decision?"
BK: "I was raised my whole life in Idaho. Especially being a Black kid in a predominantly white area, a big thing for me was that I wanted to find something new, gain a new perspective on life, and challenge myself culturally. I didn't think I could do anything more difficult than moving 2,400 miles away from home, a whole ocean away, and submersing myself in a new culture. That was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but it was also one of the best experiences of my life. That year in Hawaii taught me a lot of things. It taught me how to be a man. I got the opportunity to play there during my freshman year. I was like 255 playing Division I football. Following that year, my offensive line coach left Hawaii, and I just wanted to see what my options were. I sent my film out to some teams. I was fortunate enough because our defensive line coach and wide receivers coach had just left to go to Oregon State. I really didn't have any intentions of coming here. At that time, Oregon State was a dumpster fire. I just took the visit out of respect for my coaches. But I came out here, met my offensive line coach, met Coach [Jonathan] Smith, and the rest is history. The best choice I ever made in my life."
JF: "You ended up starting four years at Oregon State, the first three were spent at right tackle. You moved inside to right guard this season. Why did that move take place and what was that switch like for you?"
BK: "Following the 2021 season, I had gotten some feedback from teams. A lot of that feedback was 'We want to see what you can do on the inside.' At the time, I was really [wrestling] with the idea of coming back to college. I mean, I'm a fifth-year senior. A lot of me just wanted to be done with it. In all honesty, it was the bowl game that year [that made me decide to return]. We lost to Utah State. Right then and there, it was a done deal. The position change was nothing I was going to worry about. It helped me gain a whole new perspective on the game. It's crazy because you go five feet to your right and the whole game changes."
Meeting with the NY Jets
JF: "You met with a number of teams at the NFLPA Bowl, one of which was the New York Jets. Tell me a little about how that meeting went."
BK: "A lot of the meetings are very similar. A lot of the teams are asking a lot of the same questions. To be honest with you, a lot of the teams know the answers to the questions they're asking. What they want to see is how you answer them. Sitting down with the Jets was cool. The scout who I interviewed with was a super cool dude."
Meeting with other NFL teams
JF: "Are there any teams showing more interest than others? If not, what teams have you met with in an official capacity?"
BK: "I went up to Seattle this past Thursday and did their local pro day. They reached out and invited me to that. I know my agent has heard from a few other teams: 49ers, Saints, and some other scouts. I talked to the Chargers on the phone about a week ago. Obviously, I'm not a first-round guy. For me, it's more about continuing to do what I do. So whether I'm drafted or an undrafted free agent or whatever it is, when that opportunity comes, I'm competing. I'm right there with the guy they took in the first round. I've heard from teams here and there, so whoever takes me, they're going to get a competitor."
Getting to know Brandon Kipper
JF: "What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of football?"
BK: "Well, I'm currently sitting at the gaming computer that I built. I like to tinker with technology. I got a wife now, so I'd say a hobby is keeping her happy (laughs). I'm a pretty relaxed dude. I read here and there. I play chess. I'm trying to get my rating up. I'm kind of a nerd. I like to cook, but every offensive lineman likes to cook because we like to eat. Plus my wife could burn ice, so someone has to do it (laughs)."
JF: "What is your go-to karaoke song?"
BK: "'Baby Got Mack' by Sir Mix-a-Lot. I know every word. Or 'Live Like You Were Dying' by Tim McGraw. You should see my Apple Music, I listen to it all. I'll be chilling with my teammates, and we'll be listening to some Meek Mill or Drake, and I know all the lyrics. And then I'll throw on some Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks, and they just look at me. Then a little Grover Washington and some jazz. I listen to it all."