The interviews will be posted as a weekly series, continuing today with fifth-round selection
Where is your hometown, and what is the most interesting thing about it?
I'm from Dallas, but I'm from a community in Dallas called Lake Highlands. As a high school, at one point we had the most NFL players from one high school in the nation. We have a pretty well-renowned football program at Lake Highlands. Guys like Frank Okam (defensive tackle, Houston Texans) and Marcus Coleman (former defensive back for the Jets, Texans and Cowboys) made it. We've had a few guys here and there, and at one point there were seven or eight guys from our high school in the league. It was pretty cool.
Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
No. At the most I'd say, it's not a superstition, but I'll read my Bible and pray a little bit. Nothing superstitious I don't think.
What has been your greatest accomplishment on the football field?
Just staying on track to reach my potential. You see players waste talent or don't try their hardest, and you see them come up short. And I'm doing my best to make sure that every ounce of talent that God gave me is being used. I enjoy this game so much. The worst practice you can think of, I'm enjoying it. Just putting my whole heart in the game is an accomplishment for me.
What's the most memorable football game you've ever been a part of, be it Pop Warner, high school or college?
Last year we played at home against Utah in front of a record-setting crowd at our stadium at TCU, and that was something I'd never seen before at our place. I walked out before the game so I could get that wide-eyed staring out of me. But it was great, awesome atmosphere. We'd love that if it happened every week, and they're well on their way to that happening.
We won handily. It was a very competitive game, but we came to play. I think it was 55-28. Utah is one of the top-tier teams in our conference and also in the nation, and just the way we executed in that game was amazing to watch. Seeing all those guys you had been through training camp with, it all came together. We just had a good collective team game. Winning is fun, always.
Who's the most influential coach you've ever played for and why?
My O-line coach at TCU, Eddie Williamson. He's not a big yeller or screamer, but he pushes you farther than you think you can go. But then he also brings you back down and explains to you why he's doing what he's doing, and teaches you about stuff that at the time you don't think it has to do with football, but in reality it has to do with life and everything outside of football. He's a great guy and a great mentor.
He could see the potential in you, and he always knew the right ways to push you and the right times to back off also. It's kind of a balance. He's great at it, and a lot of people who know him around the country know that about him. He's a great leader, definitely.
Who's the most famous athlete you've ever met in person? When and where did you meet them?
Other than my cousin who played for the Cowboys, ... there might be someone I'm forgetting along the way. Actually, I met 'LT' (San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson). I forgot about that. He comes back to TCU every now and then when he has a camp, and I met him. It was two summers ago in Fort Worth. He's definitely a humble guy. You see that he likes giving back to his community. He has a little kids camp there. He's a great guy, a good ambassador for TCU. It was a pleasure to meet him, for sure.
Prior to being drafted by the Packers, had you ever been to Lambeau Field?
Never. I had never been to Wisconsin.
Who is the most interesting person in your family?
Probably my dad. He's a really sociable person. He loves talking to people, getting to know people. He has no, ... not shame, but he has no boundaries. If he doesn't know you, he'll still go up to you and introduce himself, ask you about yourself. I like that about him. I wish I had more of that in me, but I just don't. We call him the mayor. In a group, he just loves going around talking to everybody, shaking hands and smiling. He's a good guy. Growing up, he had two sisters and he kind of had to branch out and become his own person. He loves socializing and he loves interaction with people.
Outside of anything in sports, what's your proudest accomplishment in life?
Graduating, for sure. People take it for granted, but there are a lot of guys in the NFL now who don't have degrees. Some of them don't plan to, some plan to go back. But getting that degree is no small feat, and I'm proud of that for sure. Hopefully when football is done, I'll have the means to go back to school and get some higher education.
What's your degree in, and why did you pursue that field?
Advertising and public relations. I started off when I was a freshman as a graphic design major, and I enjoy graphic design. But the way they had it at TCU, it in itself was a job. It was like working at a firm or something, a full-time job. So I had to do that and football. I played my true freshman year and it just didn't work out. I tried to find something similar, so I went the advertising route, and it turned out I enjoyed it a lot. That's how I ended up there.
What are your personal goals for this rookie season?
Make the team and hopefully help the team win. That's all I'm focused on. I'm in the playbook and out there trying to get better every day. I understand you're going to make mistakes, but it's more important how you bounce back from mistakes and try not to let the same things happen again. I'm definitely focused on getting better every day. It could be little or could be big, but something better every day.
What do you think will be the toughest part about your first NFL training camp?
Definitely the length. In college, ours was about 2 1/2-3 weeks. Here it's a full month, and in between there's also preseason games. So getting used to getting your mind right for a game, and then at the end of the week going back to practice like during camp, that's definitely different. It takes some getting used to, but everyone has to go through it. All of these guys, even Aaron Rodgers and Chad Clifton and all these guys, they all went through it.
When you were a kid, did you dream of growing up to be a football player?
I did. I knew that the odds were against me. The percentages of people who play in the NFL are real small. I knew that going in. My parents reminded me, just to make sure I focused on my education, because there are no guarantees I'd make it that far. But I definitely wanted to be that, and once I started realizing more and more that I had the ability to and I had the right situation, I just built on that. But as a kid, yeah, I had dreams of that.
At what point were you sure you were going to be in the NFL someday?
I never took it for granted, really. Up until my junior and senior year, I had hopes of it, but there wasn't a sense of calm knowing that it was probably happening. Not until that point. I came in every day hoping I could show myself and that would be the case, and now it is.
Was there a football player you idolized growing up? Why him?
When I was smaller, I liked watching the center for the Cowboys, Mark Stepnoski. I enjoyed watching him, and Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman. As I got older, I started watching more and more offensive line work. Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones, all those guys. With Stepnoski, he wasn't the biggest guy, but he got right in the middle of everybody who stepped in front of him and didn't back down at all, and he was just a good leader. I respected the fact that he played hard.
When did you attend your first NFL game, and what do you remember most about it?
I went to one game in maybe 2004, a Cowboys and Chiefs game at the old Texas Stadium. I had nose bleeds, but it was fun. I enjoyed it. I was with a couple of friends, and the Cowboys didn't play well at all. The Chiefs lit them up, for whatever reason. Cowboys people get into their football just like Packers fans do. I might have been to a Cowboys-Oilers game when I was little, but I can't remember for sure. The one I remember was Cowboys-Chiefs.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you are not playing football?
I read. I read the Bible quite a bit, and some other books. I watch a lot of shows. We've been in the hotel, so that's about all there is to do is watch shows. When I go back home, I'll go fishing in July, get outside a little bit at the lake or something. I just want to be leisurely. I like kicking my feet up, for sure.
Ever caught anything worth bragging about?
Nothing too big. We fish out in east Texas, and we've caught some crappies and sand bass. My dad has caught quite a few big ones, though. He caught a catfish once, but I can't remember how big it was.
What do you want Packer fans to know about you as a person?
Just that football doesn't make me. I love it with all my heart and I'm going to work my hardest and try to play for as long as possible, but I don't consider myself just a football player. I'd love to give back to the community and be involved in other stuff outside of football, in a church or working with kids. I love working with kids. I try my best to be the best person I can be. I've been fortunate to have family that keeps me accountable and raised me the right way. I'm pretty simple, not too complicated.