Pack Pride Q&A: K'Hadree Hooker

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pack Pride talks with NC State freshman defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker about the upcoming season.

NC State freshman defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker was one of the top recruits in the Wolfpack's 2012 recruiting class. After redshirting last fall, he now finds himself in a battle for playing time heading into the 2013 season.

Pack Pride spoke with Hooker about fall practice, the coaching staff, his position group, and much more...

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You made several big plays in the spring game. What was your goal going in?
I just tried to play with a lot of energy. I wanted to fly around the field... make plays in the backfield.

There seems to be a lot of depth at defensive tackle. It didn't seem like your squad, the White team, had much drop-off from the Red team.
In our practice environment, we're competing. The defensive linemen, we want to be the best position group on the team. So our practices are very competitive.

Being a two, I'm trying to make the ones better. The competition is nice.

What have you been able to learn from T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal?
The importance of fundamentals and effort. Those guys have huge motors. I try to model my game after them. They play hard and they play through the whistle. I try to play like them.

How important is having a motor to being a defensive tackle?
It's very important. Our goal around here as a defensive lineman is to make plays in the background, and you need to have that kind of motor to consistently make plays in the backfield.

What are your thoughts of defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen?
He's been great. He's a stickler on fundamentals and effort, and that's made us a better unit.

He preaches competition so we compete everyday to make each other better.

You can't come to practice not ready to compete because you can lose your spot just like that.

You just finished spring practice. Excited to get back to work with coach Veltkamp?
Coach V. and his staff do a great job of getting our bodies where they need to be and meet our goals. I'm looking forward to continue gaining strength and getting in even better shape.

How much have you changed physically since last year?
When I first got here I was 335 pounds, and I have my weight all the way down to 298. A lot of guys are saying I look bigger even after losing the weight... that just lets you know what coach V. and his staff are doing.

I'm able to play faster and harder.

Who on the line has stood out to you?
[Darryl] Cato-Bishop and {A.J.] Ferguson. Ferg... we have a really good relationship. We push each other so we can push the ones. He's showing me the way right now.

What has the transition been like with the new staff?
It's been a smooth transition. Coach D. and his staff have made it smooth. We believe in the plan, and we look forward to the future.

What stands out to you the most about the staff?
There's a lot of energy. Everybody is happy around here, and we all come everyday ready to work.

It's a great atmosphere.


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