By: Jaicee Christian
Give me your point of view of draft night when you got the call in the second round.
“Special, it’s really the only way I can put it in words. It’s something that you can’t explain. I said I wasn’t going to cry, I said I wasn’t going to do this, I said I wasn’t going to do that, but emotions took over. It was a lot of hard work and dedication that led up to that point. When you have the opportunity to have your name called at any NFL Draft, especially as high as I had mine it’s really special. To get that call from coach Pete and for everyone to hear him, was very special to me and my family.”
What made you start playing football?
“I was a premature kid, so just going through many things at a young age, football just gave me the reality of being a child. It gave me that normal feature. When I was introduced to the game at the age of four, it made me feel normal. From that point forward I just took it and ran with it.”
Your story is amazing, what do you take away from your own story?
“That you can really persevere through anything. I was really young, and I don’t remember much of that all the way up until I was five years old and I was able to do things like football. I would have to do about three or four plays and then have to sit down for about 15 minutes. Kids at that age should be able to just run all day but I wasn’t able to do that, I didn’t have that ability. Just being able to persevere through that, being older and still dealing with a lot of that stuff at that time, just to know that you can get through anything. I was always kind of afraid to put my story out there. When I got to this point I thought my story could help others that are going through the same thing. It was huge for me but remember you can get through anything.”
You are very explosive, what goes through your mind when the play is about to start?
“Playing the game of football, getting all my pre-snap keys. Get everything I need to know, get the play call. Obtain all the information that I need to know in order to go out there and play the play. From there forward is just having that dog mentality and try to go out and win that down.”
How’s the adjustment to the NFL?
“It’s been different, the speed of the game has definitely sped back up, but obviously, it will slow down with reps. It takes time, so just really trying to get my ins and outs. Get every single pre-snap clue that I can to slow my head down to get my play call. Just really go through everything that I need to do to be able to go out and be successful on that down. I can’t wait for that first game and get that first play under my belt.”
Who was/is your favorite player from the NFL?
“I have a lot, but I really model my game after Von Miller. Coming out of college and to the pros he was a heavy speed guy, now he’s a more powerful guy. In high school I was a heavy speed guy, and in college, I turned into a very physical power rusher. I feel like we share the same attributes, I had the opportunity to speak with him at the combine and that was really special for me. Overall, I feel like he’s the guy I’m really studying his game and looking up to at the moment.”
What songs are on your gameday playlist?
“I listen to a little bit of everything. Pregame I listen to a lot of Lil Baby. Just really trying to vibe out, jam, and get my head right, just really to get ready to play.”
Rank the weather 1-10 here compared to Mississippi/Alabama.
“Here 10, there 0. The weather here is amazing, I thought it was good there. Coming to Seattle for two months and then going back home for the offseason the humidity was brutal. Stepping outside, just standing there for two seconds, and pouring sweat is a lot different than being here. Out at practice, you have to make yourself sweat, you have to lather up and put on extra clothes to really get yourself going. The weather is just so amazing here now.”
What do you think of when you think about home?
“Fishing, seafood, family obviously, good times, just really where I came from. They always say never forget your roots from what got you to where you are. So home is very near and dear to my heart.”
What’s your favorite thing about Seattle so far?
“It has to be the weather for me, the weather is just night and day and is completely different. I love the place; the people here are really nice. I’m just looking forward to getting off in the city a little more and exploring.”
What hobbies do you have outside of football?
“Trucks, golf, fishing, hunting, bowling; I’m a big-time bowler. I do a lot of different things, whether indoors or outdoors. Rain, sleet, shine, or snow I’m going to find something that I’m able to do.”
What advice would you tell your younger self?
“Be patient. God’s timing is everything. So, you really can’t rush what he has for you, just be patient keep, your head down, and always work. There are a lot of times I’ve been frustrated and thought why me? Why do I have to go through this? Just really trust God, because I’m huge in my faith and he has a plan for everyone. Just be still and be where your feet are.”
What inspired the Auburn tattoo?
“The Auburn tattoo is my first one. It was very special to me, going to that place I felt I put every single ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into that program. When you leave, they say you never really understand what Auburn love means until you leave. I truly see that now, it’s a very special place. The best atmosphere in college football, the best fans, and the best coaches. Auburn is very special. I bleed orange and blue; I don’t write in red or wear red. It’s near and dear to my heart so that’s why I put the tattoo on my chest.”