Q&A with Shaun Draughn

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina senior running back Shaun Draughn spoke to reporters on Wednesday in his first interview since being cleared to play. Listen to the interview and read the full transcription ...

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How did it feel once you finally got cleared to play on Saturday?
"It felt real good - it felt good to be back with the boys. The little things you take for granted, just being in the locker room with the guys, I thank God for being back."

Now that you are back, do you feel like you were kept out unjustly or did you feel like it was reasonable to hold you out regardless of the circumstances?
"That's a question I'd rather not answer. We can talk about football, but that's a question I'm not going to answer."

Did they give you a reason as to why they held you out?
"They did, but that's something I'm not going to talk about."

When did you find out you'd be coming back?
"Last Monday."

Who told you?
"I can't remember - it might have been Corey (Holliday)."

Before the game, you looked more amped than usual in the tunnel waiting to come out on the field ...
"I was talking to Johnny (White) when we were in the hotel on Friday night, I was telling him it'd been 10 months since I played a football game, so I was ready to be out there with the guys."

And Johnny had a very nice game ...
"He did what he had to do. I was very proud of him."

What was it like for you missing that LSU game?
"It was hard. I was out there (in the stands in the Georgia Dome) to support the guys, that was the main thing. They played hard and that's all that Coach asked them to do. For me, it was a hard thing to watch, but it was still good to watch my teammates play how they know how to play."

Coach Davis sounded frustrated today, waiting to hear something, can you characterize what the team feels like as this goes on and on?
"I can speak for myself and how I felt, I was ready for the decision to be over with. But it is what it is."

Do you talk to each other about it?
"We try not to. We try to just focus on the goal, which is winning games."

As someone who's been involved in the investigation, how do you think it is being handled?
"That's something I'd rather not talk about."

You'd rather not talk about it because ... ?
"I'm here to talk about football. That's what it is."

What are some of your memories from the game at Rutgers two years ago?
"It was big. That was one of our statement games. It was early in the season and it set the tone for how we could play. We played good in all three phases - offense, defense, special teams."

From watching film, did you notice anything similar or different from the team you faced in 2008?
"For the most part their defense is the same. They have bigger guys, linebackers, and their defensive front is pretty good."

Do you feel as a player, and as a team, that after having such high hopes for this team and starting 0-2, is there any feeling that those high hopes might have been dashed or do you still have everything to play for?
"Everything to play for. We are out here playing for our families, playing for the coaches and playing for the love of the game. For us to go out and play how we know how to play on Saturday is the main thing."

What have you said to the other guys who are still waiting for word on their status?
"Just keep praying and hold on. That's all I did so that's all I tell them."

Did you have to do anything to get cleared?
"That's something I can't talk about."

How confident were you while you were out that you'd be cleared?
"Like I said, I kept praying that everything would be all right."

Was Chris Hawkins a fairly well known guy amongst the players on the team?
"I mean, everybody knows Hawk. We're the people that come work out here every summer, and he was around the guys. He played here before so he's close to the guys."

Did you have any sense that what he's now involved with was going on?
"I don't know if he was involved in it or not."

Did you work with the tutor who is at the center of all this?
"The tutor was a part of the program so eventually everybody probably worked with her."

Are you surprised that she now doesn't want to talk?
"Not at all. It is what it is."

Do you think the trip with Chris to Atlanta was the reason you were held out of the LSU game?
"I didn't take a trip with Chris."

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