Ty, we were there the night you committed at Batesburg-Leesville - you let us break the news. Seems like yesterday doesn't it? Coach Strickland is gone to Gaffney now and you are entering your redshirt freshman season ... Gamecock Nation is ready to hear from you.
"It does seem like yesterday, and then sometimes it seems like ten years ago. A lot has happened since then."
Where exactly are you playing now - what position?
"Right now I'm playing boundary safety."
Short side, wide side, what?
"It's a strong safety really, on the short side of the field based on what the offense is doing and where they line up ... on whatever hashmarks."
What is your main mission as a boundary safety?
"It really depends on which defense we are in and what we are showing."
Are you comfortable back there? You've been moved once or twice since last year. Where are you on the depth chart?
"We really don't have a depth chart right now. Uh, but um ... I feel real comfortable there. I mean I played there in high school and I never really started playing corner until I got here so safety is pretty much my home."
So are you really more of a corner than a safety?
"No, not really. It just depends more on what our defense is doing I guess. It might look like a boundary safety is playing corner I suppose if you look at coverages in certain ways, it just depends on the defense."
Will the safeties be asked to play man coverage at times this year. (Unlike last year.)
"Yeah, sometimes. It just depends."
What is your forty time?
"I don't know. The last time we tested it was in the spring and I was like 200 pounds - and this summer I lost like 15 pounds so I would say maybe low 4.5s ... sometimes I'll clock down in the 4.4s."
How are you physically?
"Well, other than a little nick to my toe, maybe turf toe or a jammed toe, I'm fine."
What about school? How are you doing in class?
"Oh yeah, I'm doing real good. My parents make sure I take care of the books before anything else. And the coaches and all the support people around here - they all make sure we get our grades. It's very important around here."
Talk a little bit about your first live game coming up as a redshirt freshman.
"I'm looking forward to it, I'm real anxious. A lot of guys who I came in with last year who got redshirted - I mean everybody is really looking forward to it - this entire team is really hyped up. We really want to turn this thing around this year. We were so close last year and all we need it to start it off with a positive and we'll be on our way."
Talk about Coach Cooper and Coach Reaves for a moment if you will please?
"Coach Cooper and Coach Reaves they pretty much work together. We see them together and they work together on the practice field the same amount. But Coach Reaves he specializes in safeties so I see him more. Coach Cooper, he really is a good coach, he knows a lot about football. It's just a blessing that I learned some things from Coach Gute and now I am learning from Coach Cooper. I feel really blessed about that."
One of the big question marks on the team this year is in the secondary ...
"Right now we're very young but Jay Joe (nickname for Jonathan Joseph) he's a sophomore and he comes from junior college and while he doesn't have any SEC experience he does have higher experience and I can tell you - he is a great talent. Also Fred (Bennett) is very very good. Once they get a couple of games under their belts everything will be fine. I just think that we have to gel together ... we're still learning right now but as time goes on we'll be a good secondary. We're not going to be perfect from game one but I think you will find that we will be good enough to get the job done and improve each week."
Name all the scholarship safeties out there right now.
"We have Jermaine Harris, Jamacia Jackson, Trent Usher, me ... Ko Simpson - and he's looking real good. Especially for him just being a true freshman he's very good and he has a bright future in front of him. Um, also we have Chris Hampton and he also looks real good. Terrell Davis has been moved to Apache Backer so we can't count him anylonger."
Name the corners.
"Jay Joe, Freddy, Taqy Muhammad, Tremiane Tyler, Stoney Woodson ... I was there not too long ago until they moved me back to safety."
Are there enough bodies out there in your opinion?
"I think so given the package we run as long as everybody stays healthy. Staying healthy in the secondary is going to be important, especially the corners."
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