How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
I got a lot of letters from schools like Pittsburgh, UNC, Virginia, Temple, UCONN, and Marshall. Also had a lot of division 2 teams I spoke to. I ended up making Visits to Sacred Heart, Pitt, Shippensburg, and West Chester.
Where did you choose and why?
I chose Shippensburg because they wanted me the most, had a brand new weight room, and offered the best scholarship.
What were your goals for your senior year?
My goals were to make the playoffs and make some noise there since we had gotten to the second round the year before. Personally I just wanted to improve my game and get better all-around as a player.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I talked to some scouts at our pro day at Villanova and they just said to keep working hard and let the film speak for itself. One of my trainers in Harrisburg told me that they wanted to check on my speed at one point. That’s probably the most specific thing I heard.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
My athleticism and knowledge of the game. Being able to decipher what offenses are trying to do not just to me but to the defense that we’re running and putting myself in position to make a play. Also I’m addicted to football and sports in general, and I play on every special team. I never miss practice or games or a play for any reason. I’m also a very sound tackler with form and fit.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
I look for what the offense is trying to accomplish with each different package/formation that they use. I try to see where the quarterback looks based on the coverage’s he’s reading and try to find patterns in that. With receivers I want to find out if they have any certain moves off the line that they go to in press situations and how they go about blocking on outside run plays. In the PSAC, lots of offenses ask the receivers to read coverage’s as well as the QB’s so I try to see if I can mess up their reads with a certain movement off the snap before I get into my cover responsibility.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
Either WR Michael Harris, who had some of the best hands and route running ability I’ve ever faced, or WR Trevor Harmon who also is a great route runner with a big body who makes contested catches really well. Also RB Franklin Quiteh was really tough to bring down, you have to get at him low and fast before he picks up steam.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would say Brandon Boykin, CB on the Philadelphia Eagles, were about the same size but also athletic and strong enough that it isn’t a disadvantage. I can play the nickel or the outside like him, and I have some kick return experience.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Probably coming from a High school that had never made the playoffs in school history until my senior year to earning a scholarship to one of the top football programs in division 2. I just believed that if I work hard enough that it will all work out and I’m glad it has so far.
What system fits your style of play the best?
Our defense at Shippensburg ran so many different coverage looks that I feel like I can adapt to any system. We had nickel and dime packages, blitz packages, man, zone, mixed man and zone, etc… I think I would feel very comfortable in the nickel playing close to the LOS and running with slot receivers but I’ve always played on the outside so that is very familiar to me.
What is your biggest strength?
I’ve improved my ball skills the most while in college, I’m good at timing up when the receiver will jump or go after the ball and breaking up the play. I would also say my toughness in taking on blocks in the run game surprises some people.
What is your biggest weakness?
Timing up my blitzes from the outside, a few times I showed too early or tried to hide the blitz and waited too long.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I would say that I’ve been successful everywhere I’ve played so far. I was a major contributor on the first playoff team in my high schools’ history, and I was a major part of the defense for my 4 years starting at Shippensburg when we had the best season in school history and had a 38-18 record over the 5 years I attended. I also have never sat out, I started from the first snap my redshirt freshman year until the very last during my senior year, 46 straight starts. I never take a play or a practice off and come to work every day with the intention of improving myself and my place on the team to help it be successful. I’m addicted to football and it is my main focus so you would never have to worry about anything off the field or letting up for a second.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My mother because she taught me everything I know and always has believed in me. She moved to Philadelphia from New Jersey on her own when she was 18 and has made an amazing life for me and my sister. She’s extremely dedicated to her work and her family and she’s somehow both the driving and calming force in my life.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team is the Philadelphia Eagles because I’m from Philly. My favorite player was Brian Dawkins, his intensity and love for the game has been unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever seen in the NFL or anywhere. He wasn’t the highest regarded guy coming out of Clemson or even after his first year in the league but he rose up and made everyone respect him and his team.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
I’ve been lucky to not have too many tragic events happen in my life thus far. My parents do a very good job of taking care of me and preparing me for things so that I’m not usually surprised when adverse situations arise.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Martin Luther King Jr. Deion Sanders, and Barack Obama. Their all extremely successful at their crafts and I’d like to pick their brains and learn from them.
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
I would buy my mom and sister something and then save the rest. Any one paycheck could be your last so there’s no need to splurge with the first one.
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