HI – Josh, your team enters the year ranked second in the nation. What does this kind of preseason hype do for you guys?
JJ – It definitely has been exciting, preseason wise. It is fun for Appalachian to be ranked so high early, but it's all preseason. It means a lot I guess to give you a little motivation before the season starts, but once we go through West Virginia all of that doesn't mean too much.
Appalachian State DE Josh Jeffries
HI – You mention the Marshall game. Are you looking forward to going against the 19th ranked Thundering Herd and quarterback Byron Leftwich?
JJ – Oh yeah I am looking forward to the game. I was a big Marshall fan last year. I love watching them on TV because it's a real exciting offense. I have heard stories of playing there and it's going to be really fun, so I am really excited about that.
HI – Do you think that the fact that Coach Jerry Moore is the only visiting coach to win two times at Marshall helps your team's chances?
JJ – I think when coach was playing Marshall it was a little different caliber of athletes they had there. Marshall is a powerhouse now. I am a big fan of Marshall and stuff and I think all of the stuff in the past could be a little motivation. But it all happens when we step on the field; that is how we decide.
HI – A season ago you had 14 sacks to push your total up to 25.5, a school record at ASU. What's the secret to your success?
JJ – I think the biggest thing that I do is try to use my quickness and try to get leverage. I know going against the big tackle you all have, he is 6-foot-6 and 300-some pounds; I will have to try to get some leverage and hopefully use my speed on him.
HI – Lining up on the defensive line with you is K.T. Stovall, who had a great year last season. Tell us a little about him...
JJ – K.T. is really underrated. He didn't get much recognition last year and I think he should have gotten a whole lot. He had eight and a half sacks last year and a bunch of tackles for loss. This year is the same thing. We are pretty much running the same defense; we are just using our speed and quickness because we lack size compared to a lot of people. K.T. has put on some weight this year and he is at about 225, which is about the biggest he has been.
HI – What has your team been able to do early on to get you guys prepared for the season?
JJ – I know one thing that ASU has done really well is that everyone stays here during the summer. I think we had something like 83 guys here this summer, which is tremendous compared to a lot of schools.
HI – Coming out of high school, what made you chose Appalachian State?
JJ – I think the biggest thing that made me come here is that no one else wanted me. No one wanted to take a chance because I was short. I really wanted to go to UNC coming out of high school. They recruited me the most and one of my high school coaches is coaching there, but they didn't want to take a chance on me because I was short. Appalachian offered me a scholarship and it was definitely the smartest decision I have ever made.
HI – Did any other schools besides ASU offer you a scholarship?
JJ – Duke offered me a scholarship, but I didn't want to go there. A lot of Division 1-AA schools, but I wanted to stay in North Carolina and ASU is a great program. I wanted to play early and I got to play as a sophomore. So it was the best decision I could have made.
HI – You are a returning All-American and a candidate for the defensive player of the year award in Division 1-AA. Has any of this brought attention from the NFL?
JJ – I have talked to a lot of scouts and filled out many questionaires. To be honest with you, I really haven't thought about it, because I am 6-foot-1. I would really have to play well this season and do stuff well just to get a chance. But if I was ever to get that chance, it would be something I would love to pursue.
HI – Okay, our final question is... what are your team goals for this season?
JJ – We haven't sat down as a team and set goals yet, but I know anything less than a Southern Conference Championship is going to be a disappointment to us because we definitely have the talent and want to compete for a National Championship and hopefully win it.