Sapp finished his time on the field last fall before being picked up in the fifth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Interestingly enough, he'll now make the fulltime transition from defensive end to linebacker in the pros. While the adjustment remains an ongoing thing but Sapp looks to be up to this sizeable challenge.
CUTigers.com recently caught up with Ricky to talk about his move to the City of Brotherly Love and more:
How do you look back on your time at Clemson?
Sapp: I chose Clemson over a lot of good schools like Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia. I really had a great four years. I really was blessed to be part of something at a great university with great fans, great professors and great coaches. I miss Clemson a lot. I wish I could go back but that's in the past. I'm looking forward right now.
How did Coach Swinney impact you the most?
Sapp: I think he impacted me the most by the way he ran the program. He's a hands-on coach and I really admire him for that. He's a great coach on the field and off the field. Off the field, he'd do things like come around and check classes. I really admire him for that.
How have things gone for you so far in Philly?
Sapp: It's going good. I'm a country boy and I've got to get used to the city but I'm enjoying it. It's something new. I'm blessed to be in such a great city and to play for a great team. I've got great coaches and great teammates.
"Well I played in front of some of the best fans in the nation at Clemson University. So, the transition to the fans here is not going to be hard at all." (Roy Philpott)
Sapp: The biggest adjustment is going to be playing linebacker. Learning the coverages is going to be the biggest thing.
When you went in the fifth round to the Eagles, were you surprised that's where you ended up and also with going in that spot?
Sapp: I was shocked when I went. I thought I was a late first rounder or early second rounder. I did know that they had interest in me, so I wasn't shocked when they picked me. At the end of the day, I just wanted to get drafted. I was thankful that Philly did that.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is known as a pretty intense guy. What's it been like dealing with him so far?
Sapp: That's what I like. I like a hard-nosed, intense coach. That's how he is. I'm just thankful to be playing for him.
How much are you looking forward to playing in front of the passionate Eagle fans?
Sapp: Well I played in front of some of the best fans in the nation at Clemson University. So, the transition to the fans here is not going to be hard at all. I look forward to playing in front of some great fans here like I did at Clemson.
What are you going to miss the most about Clemson?
Sapp: Running down that hill and going out with my teammates (is what I'll miss the most).
There have been some pretty impressive names to play defensive end at Clemson. How do you feel about being among that group?
Sapp: That is a pretty impressive group. Guys like Philip Merling, Gaines Adams and Charles Bennett are guys I remember. To be mentioned among guys like that is truly a blessing.
When was the last time you played linebacker, if ever?
Sapp: Probably when I played Little League (was the last time). I've never played linebacker. This will be my first time playing there.
Will dropping into pass coverage be the biggest adjustment for you to your new position?
Sapp: Yes, jumping in coverage will be the best thing. Linebackers have to get in there in coverage and that's something new for me.
Are you expecting any rookie hazing headed your way? Sapp: Well, Coach Reid says there's no hazing but I'm expecting a little bit.
"It's a blessing. To be drafted with such guys like C.J. Spiller, Crezdon Butler and Kavell Conner and everybody else that signed free agent deals. They're all great guys. We all came in together, grew together and went through the hard and tough times." (Getty Images)
Sapp: Yeah, I've been carrying helmets but that's about it.
Sapp: It's a blessing. To be drafted with such guys like C.J. Spiller, Crezdon Butler and Kavell Conner and everybody else that signed free agent deals. They're all great guys. We all came in together, grew together and went through the hard and tough times. I'm just thankful to be part of that group, a very special group of guys.
What are you expecting in your first NFL training camp?
Sapp: I know it's going to be tough. I've never been part of an NFL training camp. Any time you go into something new, it's tough. I've never been part of one, so I'm just looking forward to getting in there, getting some pads on and doing some hitting.
How do you think the rivalry games with the Cowboys and Giants will compare to the Clemson/South Carolina game?
Sapp: I don't think anything is like the Clemson/South Carolina game. I loved the Cowboys but now I hate ‘em. Before I got here, I didn't really know who the big rivals were. Right now, I hate the Cowboys.
Has it hit you that football is now a job?
Sapp: It's not. It hasn't really hit me yet. I look at it as a blessing. It's something that I love to do. I'm just glad to be part of it.
What are your plans for the break between June and the start of training camp in July?
Sapp: I'm going back to Clemson and work out with the guys.