What would be a good season for you?
Just getting some playing time and getting a learning experience behind me; just learning Big Ten football.
How are you feeling?
Pretty good. Going through practice with no problems so far.
What was the process with the injury and the rehab?
That was harder than waiting out the season, actually. The rehab every day, two times a day, and coming in and bending my knee when my knee feels like it doesn't want to ever bend again was pretty tough. But that was a learning experience as well.
Is that the first time that you've had to deal with a major injury?
I separated my shoulder and stuff like that, but I played through that. But reconstructive knee surgery is not something that you play through.
How did it happen?
In an all-star game I believe that I partially tore my ACL. I got passed the O-lineman. The fullback tried to block me. I spun around. Then, my leg got caught. It was partially torn before I came out here during the summer. I was in warm-ups, and it completely tore.
What happened with the Clearinghouse?
Actually, it was my math class. They believed that it wasn't hard enough. They thought it was just a gimme' math class. The NCAA didn't believe it was a hard math class.
Was it difficult having football taken away from you last year?
Yeah. It was. But I took it as a learning experience.
How were you able to get through it?
Faith. And then teammates just helped me out. I went to rehab with a lot of other teammates. We would have conversations and they would ask me about my social life and all that. The coaches were great. It was really good. I never felt like I wasn't part of the team because of the injury.
Where did the nickname come from?
My high school coach gave me the name, and then the recruiting services for the name and ran with it. I don't like it too much, though.
What don't you like about it?
I didn't earn it. I want to earn a nickname.
Describe yourself as a player for those who've yet to see you play?
For a guy my size, fairly nimble. I'm more of a quick player than a strength-type player. I use quickness before strength. I can outmove a guy for position or get around him before he can react. I'm pretty much a technician.
What is your position?
Can you move inside?
Yeah. Right now, I'm primarily a left end. But they're moving inside and outside like Derreck Robinson.
Do you see that as a common characteristic of the D-linemen at Iowa that they can play inside or out?
Yeah because we're not the biggest D-linemen in the country. But we're definitely one of the strongest and best coached. That helps us out in many ways.
What do you expect out of yourself this year, and do you feel like you fell behind at all?
Definitely, I'd say I fell behind because I need to learn the defense. But this year I'm optimistic that I can make it a learning experience and have the coaches help me up and having Matt Roth ahead of me, a preseason all-American.
What do you think of Matt?
He's definitely an eccentric player. (laughs) No. He's definitely a great player to play behind and learn from. His style of play is a complement to me. It helps me out a lot. Even though he is aggressive, his technique is never off.
Are a 40-speed guy or more a quick football guy?
I'd say that I'm a quicker guy. My 40 isn't bad, but I'm more of a quicker guy.
What is your 40?
I don't know what it is now. I think that I got faster. But it was 4.72 in high school.