Byron Alfred Interview

"Coach Giles called me with Coach Phillips, Coach Clements and Coach McGaughey on the phone with him. They were laughing and clowning around together. We talked for about 30 minutes. Just by hearing how well they were getting along allowed me to see what type of environment they were trying to promote at UH. That was very exciting to me." - Byron Alfred

I had a chance to visit with Byron Alfred, aka PAPROPHET on CoogFans and here are his thoughts on being a new member of our proud Houston Cougar family.

DD - Tell us a little about your PA Memorial team and the highlights of this past season.
BA - Well my team at PA Memorial was a consolidated school. Just a month before we came together, there were all out fist fights between the schools that consolidated. However, when we did come together our Head Coach, Dean Colbert, chose 8 team captains. I was one of these captains. He challenged us to bring this team together without any conflicts. I feel that our group was very successful. This year I felt like I left everything on the field even though we only finished 5-4. I have no regrets about this season. In one season with my head coach, I was able to gain lots of trust from him. He would come to me when there was a bad day at practice or when he felt that there was tension in the "Titan family." The most satisfying feeling was in crunch time when we needed a first down or a big score he would always look me in the eye and say, "We need you on this one." I think my best game was against Jason Jack from Humble. I didn't allow him to do anything on me. He was completely shut out. I also had a great game against Chris Dabbs from Smtihson Valley. He went on to be an All American. I like to measure my performances against the greatest competition.

DD - Tell us about Coach Donald Douglas who played for the Coogs from '91-'93.
BA - Coach Doug is a great person. He is one of those coaches who I know I will continue to have an ongoing friendship that will last a lifetime. He has really become a friend of the family. He and Coach Colbert, my head coach, are UH alumni. So you can see where they wanted me to go.

DD - What other activities/sports do you participate in currently?
BA - I have competed in shot-put all the way through high school. I have actually gotten pretty good at it, in fact. However, this season I am not going to do anything other than football. I feel like the 2 1/2 month recruiting season was another sport in itself. I have been working out 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. I feel like it is more important that I prepare myself to be the best football player I can be when I arrive in Cougar Country than it is to throw a shot-put. Furthermore, I plan to enjoy the rest of my senior year with family and friends. Track meets are all day waits for one event that lasts an hour.

DD - What hobbies or other interests do you have?
BA - Well, I like to produce music in my home studio, play PlayStation 2, and I am also a member of (GO COOGS!!) I like to go on family outings on the weekends. Family is something that I have always cherished.

DD - Who recruited you for UH and how did that develop?
BA - Well, my UH recruiting started off fairly slow. I talked to Coach Bradley Peveto a few times during the season. I had always been interested in UH. I have been coming to throughout my whole senior year. I watched the posts on the message boards all throughout the coaching change. When coach Briles was hired I got a call from coach Peveto and he said he would not be coming back to Houston next year. I looked at that as an opportunity lost. I had offers from other schools so I wasn't too upset about it. About a week after Coach Briles arrived Coach Doug sat me down and told me that UH is starting to become more attractive as the days go by. He told me that Coach Jason Phillips was going to be coaching over there. He said he had a close friendship with him. So the next day Coach Giles came to the school and introduced himself to me. He was about the most straight forward coach I had met throughout the recruiting process. I had a good feeling after our conversation. The next night Coach Giles called me with Coach Phillips, Coach Clements and Coach McGaughey on the phone with him. They were laughing and clowning around together. We talked for about 30 minutes. Just by hearing how well they were getting along allowed me to see what type of environment they were trying to promote at UH. That was very exciting to me.

DD - What was attractive to you about coming to Houston, the university and the city?
BA - I always felt like UH would be a good fit for what I was looking for in my college experience. I wanted to stay close to home. Throughout the season I was getting recruited by LSU and had them listed as my number 1 choice. I had taken unofficial visits up to LSU and seen all of the great facilities that they had and they were only 2 1/2 ours away. When I visited UH I saw everything I saw at LSU. Actually I think the facilities were better and it was 1 hour away.

DD - How much did the hiring of Art Briles play into your decision?
BA - Well, at first his name didn't register in my head. When I found out that he was the coach from Stephensville I was fired up. This guy has history. I remember when his team beat PNG for the state championship a few years back. I watched that game and I also watched when they beat LaMarque in the state championship game. Each time I said that his team was awesome, they were men amongst boys. I was fired up to hear that he was going to be the new head coach.

DD - It must be a thrill to be part of Coach Briles' first class, how does it feel?
BA - I am honored. I know from watching the message board how high the expectations are for him and his staff. I am humbled by the fact that he is looking to me to come in and help him accomplish the goals he has for himself and the university.

DD - What was your recruiting visit like, what took place?
BA - When I arrived I was greeted by the coaching staff. They appeared to be fired up and ready to go. Like I said I had visited LSU and one thing I noticed about LSU was the way Nick Saban carried himself. He was well respected but it was almost like when he came around everybody tucked their shirts in tight and sat up straight in their seats, even the other coaches. With Coach Briles I couldn't even tell who he was because he blended in with his coaches. He really showed me that he will be accessible and easy to talk to. The trip was filled with activities and the down time was great also. That gave us time to get acquainted with the coaches and other recruits and their parents. The tour of the new recreational facilities was the last thing we did. That was probably the most beautiful building I had ever seen.

DD - Do you want to play right away or would you prefer to redshirt?
BA - It all depends. I am preparing as if I am going to play as a true freshman. I want to get out there and compete with the upperclassmen to be able to evaluate my skills on the college level. If the coaches feel I'm ready to play, I'll play. If not, a redshirt season would be a real boost to my career. I'm for it either way.

DD - What are your current physical attributes (height, weight, 40-time, etc.)?
BA - I am 6ft 3in, 285lbs, 5.0 40 yd., 350lbs bench press, 275 power clean, 525 lbs. squat, 34 inch vertical jump, and every day I am working to improve all of those things.

DD - Tell us a little bit about your teammate Ricky "The Rocket" Wilson.
BA - Ricky is the man. I talked to him about a week ago. He is a team player and leader. He is one of those guys who leads by example for the most part. He can take over any game he is in. When I played with him he ever came off of the field and you could never tell when he was tired until after the game. I have played with and against some of the fastest people around including Willie Hordge from Forrest Brook and nobody can even get close to Ricky's speed in pads. He will be a great Cougar.

DD - What do you plan to study at UH?
BA - I plan to study Electrical Engineering.

DD - Do you have anything that you would like to tell the CoogFans out there?
BA - I am looking forward to having the opportunity to play for you guys. I am going into this program with every intention of helping this program to be the best one day. I am looking forward to seeing all of you guys supporting our team....Especially, you COOGFANS.COM members!!! Go COOGS!!!

Very interesting indeed and we Coogs have certainly improved our lot with the addition of Byron Alfred. Thanks, Byron for the insight and welcome to the Houston Cougar family.

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