The gridiron is designed to bring out the strength and endurance in individuals. When you get someone to walk on to the gridiron and use their intelligence to take their team to a new level, you have an outstanding player.Maxim Dinka-Mba has been that player for the Aggies for a long time, nearly five years. Dinka-Mba red-shirted his freshman year and played mainly special teams in his first full season as an Aggie. Since that time Dinka-Mba has been at safety, linebacker and most recently defensive end.”He has done a tremendous job with adapting to different positions that we have asked him to play,” said Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. “He is also an unbelievable special teams player. Every single week he grades out extremely high on special teams.”Andersen went on to comment on Dinka-Mba’s off the field success as well, noting the senior’s success in the classroom and on pace to graduate this December.Dinka-Mba is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in deaf education. From an early age he and his siblings learned sign language because his older brother, “Faw” Dinka-Mba, is deaf. “I grew up learning sign language just like every little kid learns English,” Maxim stated.This is just one of the many experiences in his life that has taught him to think about others and not so much about himself. Football also has played a role in teaching him life characteristics. Being coachable, humble and always persevering rank among the top of his list of what football has taught him.”Not everything is going to go your way,” he said. “You have got to be that duck on water and work real hard but be smooth on the surface.”Education is important but make no mistake, Dinka-Mba wants to be on the football field. “It is the one place where you can go to release all the aggression you have that you can’t release in any other way,” he said. “When you are on the field, you have your band of brothers behind you. I love the freedom; it is like a playground.”Even more impressive than his on the field performance, Dinka-Mba is your everyday all-around good guy. He is humble, yet confident. Rather than picking a professional athlete on merely just performance he keeps his eye on the ones who are the most level headed. One of them being Brian Dawkins of the Denver Broncos. “He is a very well reserved guy, and he is a Christian man. He tries to hold his tongue when necessary and tries to lead by example on and off the field.”Dinka-Mba continues to be that same kind of example for younger football players in Cache Valley as they watch him play and see how he acts in public.Along with gaining experience in his five seasons at USU, Maxim saw the transition of coaches and explained what makes this team different from years past.”Every year they talk about team unity, but when Coach Andersen came here he put us through a lot of different situations where we had to depend on the other person,” he said. “I have seen more team unity. Everybody is willing to lay it down on the line for another person. That is what makes it a family, which is what makes you appreciate it more.”Dinka-Mba grew up in Plano, Texas. His parents both originate from Cameroon, in West Africa. Maxim is a family man, and he refers to his family as his heroes. Despite having such close relationships to his family Dinka-Mba loves Logan and Cache Valley too.”Every now and again when I do go home on break everything is too fast, I just need to go back to Logan and chill,” he said. “The longer I stay here the more I adjust and the more I like it.”Although Texas is known for being big into football, Dinka-Mba has nothing but praise and gratitude for the Aggie fans here in Northern Utah.”In Texas there are always a lot of fans, but here the city is there for you. They revolve around the sports, football, basketball and everything. People actually know you by name,” Dinka-Mba mentioned.
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