Q: The Giants drafted you in the first round. That’s a pretty big deal.
A: Definitely. It’s an exciting time for me and my family, but when you get here and you put the pads on and you go out there and play football it doesn’t matter what pick you are. There are guys here coming in and trying out and they want my spot. You just want to go out there and work hard and compete.
Q: Did you have an opportunity to meet any of the veterans?
A: No. I have not met any of them. I was in here and I met Eli. He talked to me and
Q: Did he offer any kind of advice for you going into this camp?
A: He just said work hard. He said if we need anything that he’ll be here for us. We’re rookies. He wanted to make sure you stay on your toes and you follow the veterans.
Q: There is pressure coming into this building. Do you feel it? Do you sense things have changed for you over the last week?
A: Not really. I’ve been playing football my whole life, so I want to just go out there and play football. When you’re on the field, you don’t really think about all the outside aspects. You just think about playing your game and that’s just something I’m going to continue to do and something I’ve been doing, so I’m used to it.
Q: Do you sense it’s going to be easy getting your contract done?
A: I think it will be easy to get done. I want to get it done so I can just focus on football. It’s something I’m not really worried about. You don’t want to get too greedy with the way the new CBA is. You know what you’re going to get and I just want to get it done so I can get out there and focus on football.
Q: How have the meetings been?
A: It actually hasn’t been too bad because we ran a lot of the same plays. It’s just different terminology for it. Sometimes I’ll just flip the play in my mind. The runs weren’t too bad. The pass protection was a little bit different. So that’s just something you just keep working on and get in there with the guys and we’ll go over it.
Q: Did Coach Flaherty say anything to you?
A: He just wanted me to work hard. I don’t want to be singled out from any of the guys. We’re all out there working and it’s just something that I want to get better and I think this is a great opportunity for that.
Q: What is the first impression you want to leave with these coaches from this rookie mini camp?
A: That I compete. I go out there and I work hard. I run around and do everything I’m supposed to do and don’t have them saying anything negative about me. I want them to say this kid is going to come in and he’s going to work his butt off and that’s something I’ll try to do for my whole career.
Q: What was last night like?
A: Last night was surreal. It was like a dream come true realizing that I’m finally here and we’re back at football and today was just a lot of excitement just to actually be back out there and playing football again and meeting a lot of new guys. I was just really excited and overwhelmed with joy.
Q: Do you have certain goals for yourself?
A: Honestly, my goals are to do whatever coach says. Just come in here with a closed mouth and open eyes and just ready to work. Whatever they tell me to do, I’m doing it like full speed.
Q: Is there anything that has taken you by surprise?
A: Not really because I didn’t make any expectations coming in. That way I wouldn’t be let down or I wouldn’t be too excited. I just went out there and just doing whatever he says.
Q: You’ve been a part of a program that has garnered a lot of attention. Do you think it’s going to be a difference coming here to New York?
A: Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like a deer in the headlights right now. Everything is going on and the lights just hit me and I’m kind of sitting there in awe. I’ll play it by ear.
Q: Do you think your skill set coming into the NFL will allow you to get on the field right away?
A: I don’t know. I’m just going in working as hard as I can. If I’m blessed enough to get out there on the field, I’m just going to give it my all and hopefully I can make something happen.
Q: Do you foresee yourself as a guy that can put up a lot of sacks in this league?
A: I would like to think so. Only time will tell. I’m just going to go in there, work hard, study film and learn from the greats and hopefully something will happen and everything will fall into place.
Q: Do you like coming to an organization that’s known to get after the quarterback?
A: Yes. That gives me a lot of excitement because there’s a lot of veterans and there’s a lot of talented people here right now that are teaching and coaching, so I’m just sitting here just trying to soak it all in and just ready to get to work and I’m just really eager. Hopefully some of their talents just rub off on me and I can have a little success.
Q: What were your first impressions of Perry Fewell?
A: The guy is the real deal. They mean business, so it’s time to get to work.
Q: How was today?
A: It was fun to get back out there practicing with the team except for some of the growing pains on day one. I think it went really well.
Q: What was it like putting the Giants helmet on and going out there on the field?
A: It’s pretty crazy receiving NFL coaching like that and NFL standards. It’s definitely a step up from college, but this is something that guys in this room have dreamt about their whole lives. It’s definitely pretty cool, but you’re definitely starting to realize it’s a business now and it’s a job, it’s your profession and you’ve got to treat it as such.
Q: What are some of your thoughts about landing here?
A: I couldn’t be more excited to be a Giant. I haven’t really spoken with the coaches about what my role is going to be or what their expectations are. It’s really only day one. I’m just going to go out there and compete like I do always in the weight room, on the field, in the meeting rooms; not necessarily with the older guys, especially Eli, but kind of compete with myself and make sure that I can be the best player I can be my rookie year because God forbid something happens… But I’m thinking this is going to be a developmental year for myself, so I’m just going to make sure I can grow this year and do the best I can to get ready for whatever comes my way.
Q: Have you spoken with Eli?
A: I spoke with Eli a little bit. He just gave me the heads up about some things and just getting to know each other a little bit and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
Q: How was it being in the same huddle as
A: It was pretty cool seeing a familiar face. It was nice. We’ve always been constantly supporting each other and having that out there is definitely a bonus because having a guy that has protected me the last three years is always a security blanket.
Q: What were your impressions of Coach Gilbride and Coach Ryan?
A: They’re phenomenal coaches when it comes to detail, especially at the quarterback position. You’ve got to know everything before everybody else and you’ve got to know where to be and when to be there and still be able to execute. So they definitely hold the quarterbacks to a higher standard and I can already tell why Coach Gilbride is so highly regarded in the NFL and I can’t wait to learn from him.
Q: Everybody always talks about Eli the prankster. Are you preparing yourself for what he may be pulling on you?
A: Yeah. I’m going into my locker very carefully and making sure I don’t break too much stuff in the locker room. I’m expecting something, but that’s just the way it works. It happens all the time. It’s just the way it is when you’re a rookie. It’s memories. It’s going to be fun.
Q: How serious was your heart condition?
A: It was pretty serious. It happened during a game my true sophomore year at Georgia Tech. I was starting and had a racing heart during a game enough to the point where I had to pull myself out and the doctors pulled me out and they put me under EKG at the stadium there in Miami and they identified it as Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome. When it comes to heart conditions, it’s a good one to have because they can fix it 100 percent. So when they heard it was that, I thought football was taken away from me when it was going on. I really thought if you have a heart condition my career would be done. The next morning the doctor told me it was correctible. If you can get a second chance at football, it really kind of inspired me and renewed my passion for the game to kind of get something taken away and then get it back.
Q: Were you thinking football during this experience?
A: As a 19-year-old kid playing college football, that is your life. It’s something as I was growing up I loved and I’m passionate about the game. If you love the game, you’re passionate about it. That’s where your mind is at. As crazy as that may sound, at that time, that’s where my mind was at.
Q: Was your life ever in danger?
A: I don’t remember the exact specifics, but it was elevated enough where the doctors immediately had the ambulance come over. It was pretty bad. At the time, I was kind of out of it. I don’t remember the specifics, but it wasn’t the best situation to be in.
Q: Do you think there’s a spot for you on this team?
A: I’m here to compete. I’m just right now trying to pick up as much information as I possibly can and do my best to do what Coach Merritt and Coach Fewell want me to do and then find a spot on this defense where I can make an impact and if you’re making an impact, you’re probably going to make the team.
Q: Are you tall for a safety?
A: I’m up there, one of the bigger guys. I’m a little over 6’4. So I’m definitely one of the taller safeties, one of the bigger safeties, but I think that plays to my advantage the way the league is going with as many tight ends as there are and as good as the offenses are. I think there’s a spot for a little bit bigger safeties, so hopefully I’ll be able to fill that role.
Q: The fact that the Giants have used that three-safety look it has got to make you feel pretty good.
A: Yes. It definitely does. Coach Fewell is a great coordinator. He does a lot of things with different personnel and I feel like with their three-safety look they’ve run in the past I feel like I can help in that, but they have a lot of great players. I have to compete my butt off to get on the field.
Q: Do you think it’s going to be a challenge to make this team?
A: It’s always going to be a challenge. They had faith in me and they picked me. I came here to compete and work hard. I’m ready to do it.
Q: Coach Coughlin said the one thing he was impressed about was there’s a mean streak in you.
A: I like to specify with being on the field and being off the field. When I put on my helmet I’m a different person. I like to play hard football. It’s really exciting. I’m glad that I can continue playing.
Q: You’re coming from the Mid American Conference. Is there that much of a difference?
A: Not in my eyes. We play Big 10 teams. Some of the other teams play some SEC teams and we always compete. I’m a firm believer that the MAC is on its way up and they’re going to be making a lot more noise later on in these next couple of years.
Q: Coach Flaherty always said that you have to be versatile to play on the offensive line. Is he telling you that you’re going to be a number of things?
A: Yeah. That’s to be expected. I want to learn from the veterans and pick everything up as fast as I can and be as (versatile) as I can on the line and know all of the positions.
Q: Have you played tackle or center?
A: I’ve played center in high school. In college, I was primarily guard. That’s where I was comfortable. Just picking up the ball and snapping again is nothing really that new, so I’ve just got to keep working hard and playing football.
Q: For the average guy that hasn’t seen you, what should we look for?
A: I play hard football. I love run blocking and I’m eager to learn and I’m excited to be a New York Giant.
Q: Pass blocking?
A: I like pass blocking, too, but I’ve been known for being a hard nose run blocker.
Q: How was today?
A: It’s been pretty good. It’s the first day. There’s a lot of material and everything to learn.
Q: Is the toughest thing just trying to learn the playbook quickly and then translate it onto the field?
A: Yes, because I just got the playbook last night. I was up so late last night just studying everything, but I think it’s going pretty good.
Q: How big of an adjustment is it going to be jumping up to the NFL?
A: It’s definitely going to be a big adjustment, but I think I should be able to handle it.
Q: What are friends in the NFL warning you about?
A: They tell me just how physical it is and just how big the playbook is.
Q: Did you have any clue the Giants were interested in you at all?
A: I did. I didn’t know if they were going to draft me or not. It kind of came out of nowhere a little bit. I came and visited and met a lot of coaches.
Q: Did that go well?
A: It did.
Q: There looks like some room for you at running back to make the team.
A: Definitely. I just want that chance just to get on the field.
Q: What do you think you have to show them to make the team?
A: I’ve just got to show them my skill set. I’m a big, fast running back and can play and just help the team out.
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