NFL Draft: Q&A with NC State's O Hoyte

N.C. State linebacker Oliver Hoyte was overshadowed by some more famous defensive teammates, but he knows that there's plenty room in the NFL for a hard-working, hard-hitting throwback. Go inside for a Q and A with the man his teammates called "Nightmare."

Tell me about how you got started with football.
My Mom signed me up when I was little - I didn’t like it at first, but I kept doing it. I found out I loved contact.

Growing up, did you have any favorite teams?
I was so involved in sports, I didn’t pay attention, I was focused on improving myself - I didn’t watch TV much. I was just out there playing.

What do you do for hobbies, besides working out and playing football?
I love playing with my nieces and nephews, video games, Monopoly, I just like to laugh and have fun.

What’s it like being on a team with so many great defensive players?
I don’t think anyone in the country worked harder than N.C. State. We’re hard-working guys. Mario Williams, with all the praise he’s got, he’s still down to earth, and I don’t think there’s anyone more humble than Manny Lawson. They’re good guys.

Is it hard to stand out?
When I was on the field, I made plays - even when I was nicked up. The stats don’t lie, film don’t like - when this guy’s out there, he’s making plays, there’s no other way to say it.

Tell us about the ups and downs of your college career.
Downs? I don’t think there were any, except for when we lost the games, obviously, or getting nicked up. Im a student of the game. Every game, I see the game emerge before my eyes. I learn something every game. I just love the game.

You feel like you’re better equipped to play inside or outside at the next level? Well, I think inside ... I don’t have blinding speed, but I can move, I don’t care what any 40 time says (he ran a 5.03 at the combine). I can play football, that’s one thing I know I can do. I think I could be a middle backer in a 4-3 scheme, or one of them in a 3-4 scheme.

What was the combine like for you?
I worked on closing in on the ball, coming out of my stance, exploding into the gap, all football specific stuff. I had a whole heap of meetings - I think I talked to every team ... It’s amazing how tall everyone is that’s involved with the National Football League. Everyone is tall - I’m used to being taller than anyone, but even these coaches are big. I met Monte Kiffin (Tampa defensive coordinator), and he was tall as me! On TV, he looks like a little old man. It was a great experience ... you feel like a piece of meat. Still, it was a great. I just want to see what’s next.

Has anyone given you advice about the draft?
Well, you know, everyone that left somewhere and went to the NFL, they say "Just keep working hard, it’ll be OK, it’ll all be alright. Everyone knows you’re a good football player. Just work."

Is the draft something you can’t wait for it to be over, or you can’t wait for it to get here?
It’s a new chapter of my life. It’s not about getting drafted in the first round, in the second round, it’s about playing in the National Football League. It’s a goal I’ve set for my life, and when I set goals, I achieve them.

Hoyte spoke with Patriots Insider Jon Scott a week prior to the NFL Draft. Jonathan Comey contributed to this report

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