Q & A: Trevor Laws

Apple Valley, Minn., native Trevor Laws was part of a nice group of defensive linemen with Victor Abiamiri and Derek Landri in 2006, but was thrust into the spotlight this year and performed admirably. We at Scoutsnotebook.com spoke with the Notre Dame defensive tackle about his draft preparation and thoughts on his career on Wednesday night.

Coach Weis seems like a pretty straight edge guy. Between you and Samardzija how much crap did you guys get over your hair during the years there?

He'd come into a meeting and give us a little jab over the hair here and there, but he never asked us to cut it. He let guys kind of express themselves how they wanted to as far as their appearance goes. He was pretty chill about it actually.

For the people who don't watch Notre Dame a lot, describe your personality on and off the field. I mean, is there a difference between the two? Off the field you seem like a pretty laidback guy from talking to you hear, but on the field are you a vocal guy or a non-vocal guy?

Yeah, I mean I'm definitely a different person on the field. Off the field I'm pretty laid back like you said. I'm pretty relaxed and easy going, but on the field it's a different story. That's your livelihood out there and I feel like there is a time and a place for vocal leadership. Sometimes I feel like people that are always screaming and yelling can have a negative affect and I like to lead by example. I mean, there is a time for vocal leadership and I'll do that, but there's definitely a place for it.

Watching you play the first thing that pops out to me is how great you are with your hands. I know coming out of high school you were one of the best, if not the best wrestler in the country. How do you think that background has helped you with football?

It's huge. I mean, I talk to kids from my high school and tell them if you want to be good at football sign up for wrestling immediately because so many things help, especially playing on the line. It's pretty much a wrestling match at the start of the play as it is, so the hands, wrestling, hips, mobility and balance helps immensely on the field.

With Derek Landri and Victor Abiamiri leaving last season and with you being moved to defensive end as a senior which was new to you, what was your approach going into this season? Was it any different then going into other seasons knowing you were going to have to pick up the slack that those guys left?

Yeah, I mean I had to come back and play defensive end when Corwin Brown came in because they felt I'd be more effective and make more plays there. Seeing all of the young guys that we had come in I knew that if we were going to have any kind of a successful season on defense that my play was going to be a big part of that.

Now this season as a defensive tackle you had 112 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks, five pass deflections and three blocked kicks. Had Notre Dame's record been better we thought that you actually would have deserved Heisman consideration with those types of numbers. We also thought you really played in the shadows of guys like Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis on a nationally level. We thought you deserved much more notoriety, especially given your production. How did you feel about that given the year you had?

Yeah, I mean it is what it is. Those other guys have had a lot of huge years in the media spotlight during their career and this really was my only really big breakout season as a fifth-year senior, so I think that coupled with a tough year for Notre Dame football kind of led to people overlooking me a bit this year.

Following up on that question, I mean you led the team in tackles and sacks and were second in tackle for loss, yet you couldn't even break the top five in interceptions. What's your excuse for that man?

(Laughing) I know man, it was a crazy year. I really played my hardest out there and pride myself on my academic abilities. I feel like if there is a ball on the field I'm going to be around it and I think that I had 112 tackles really shows that I take pride in that.

It's like asking and Italian grandmother here about her sauce, but what is your secret to blocking kicks man?

I think that on field goals and point after attempts defensive linemen tend to take off a lot of the time and I see that as one of my opportunities. I shoot that gap hard, get skinny through the hole, use my hands and use my quickness and just jump as high as I can. I've just been fortunate enough to get my hands on a few balls throughout my career.

Right now we have you with a 2nd round grade for the draft. Have you heard anything about where you might be drafted at this point?

Yeah, I've heard a lot of things from different people. Some like me at defensive end and some at defensive tackle. My goal is to go as high as possible. I'd be pretty happy to go as high as the grade that you guys gave me, which would feel pretty good obviously. At this point I've heard everything to the 2nd or 3rd round range.

Watching you in one on one drills at the Senior Bowl you held your own, but there is a big difference watching you as you're a completely different person when you step foot onto the field. Obviously that's referred to as a "gamer". Can you explain what happens to you when you get on the field?

There is something more live about when the running back has the ball and you have the chance to put some punishment on him. You know, I go 100-percent in all my drills too, but it must be something subconsciously because I really feel like when I get on the field my production just picks up. It's hard to explain, but I think it is true that I am a better player in games.

Where does that motor come from? I mean, that's the thing I loved most about you as a player is your motor. You're just absolutely relentless out there. Where does that come from?

It comes from a lot of different things. I feel like I learned a lot of work ethic in high school and they pushed me at Notre Dame, so each year I learned more and more about what it takes to be successful. This last year I really took it to heart when I walked down that tunnel and slapped the "Play Like A Champion" sign, so every play I went out there I knew it was my last time in a gold helmet and I played like every play was the last one I would have.

In the NFL what type of role do you see yourself playing in? Do you see yourself as a one-gap player, a two-gap player, talk a bit about that.

You know I played one-technique and three-technique in a one-gap scheme and feel really comfortable playing in that. I had a lot of success playing in that. This season I got bumped out to defensive end. In a perfect scenario I'd like to play inside in a four man front, but I'm sure I could play both.

There will be a lot of Philadelphia Eagles fans reading this interview, so what do you know about the Eagles and how would you feel about playing for them in their defensive tackle rotation?

It would be great. They have a lot of great players up there in Philadelphia that I would love to play with. My best friend from college Victor Abiamiri is there now and he tells me a lot about Philly. He loves it there a lot and it would be an amazing thing to be with him again. I've heard the fans there are really intense man, but he loves them. He said I need to come out there and get a good cheese steak and hang out a little bit.

Who talked to you down in Mobile?

Oh man, I think I talked to about twelve teams in interviews. No one stuck out more then others really. I didn't talk to the Eagles, but they said they'd be talking to me before the NFL Combine.

Going forward what do you think you need to improve on and what type of training regimen are you following right now?

Right now I'm down here in Orange County working out at Velocity Sports because us Notre Dame Boys have had quite a few months off, so I've been here since the middle of December. I'm just working on everything right now. Speed, agility, power and just getting ready for those combine drills.

Thinking back to college here, who were some of the toughest offensive linemen you went up against during your career?

I'd say a few Michigan guys. When I was a red shirt freshman they had a kid named David Baas who was the best interior linemen I went against. As far as tackles once I moved outside this year Jake Long and I had some battles this year. He's a big boy and one heck of a player.

Are there any defensive tackles that you've tried to emulate or model yourself after?

I think one of my favorite players of all time and a guy I try to play like also is John Randall who used to play for the Vikings. I used to watch him play and how ferocious and crazy he was during the game. He was a little powerhouse and I try to play like him a lot.

Is there a specific play or moment for you at Notre Dame that really sticks out to you now as you look back at your career?

Yeah, in 2005 against USC I sacked Leinhart with about a minute and a half left and made it third and forever and I think that was my best memory at Notre Dame. Of course the moments following that didn't quite go the way we wanted it to, but that was a great game and I was proud to be in it.

Now, I asked Tommy Zbikowski the same question for the last one of our interview. Hottest cheerleaders in the country, where are they at?

Oh man, I guess I'm going to have to go UCLA on this one. They've got some pretty looking girls over there man.

(UCLA is now 2 for 2 in our running cheerleader poll)

Matt Alkire is the Northeast Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com and is also co-founder of Scoutsnotebook.com, a free site dedicated to the scouting of players entering the NFL Draft.

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