Ikaika Alama-Francis: Growing up I really didn't know about my brother and my dad playing pro football until I started playing football. My dad was heavily involved in my athletics no matter what I played, whether it was basketball or volleyball, he helped me as much as he could because he was a great athlete himself. Every year he's helped me out just with technique and some little things that can further what I'm doing, so I just try to listen to him and take it all in.
ET: You appear to be a certain first-day pick in this draft even though you didn't play football in high school. Did you have any experience before playing for the University of Hawaii?
IAF: I did play one year of Pop Warner in seventh grade, but after that it wasn't until my sophomore year in college.
ET: What are the qualities that make you stand out and that would make you a great addition to an NFL team?
IAF: I'm still learning, but I'm a hard worker. I'm someone who will give everything I have into whatever is brought upon me. I know I have a lot to learn and I'm going to have a positive attitude towards everything and most of all I'm going to be a great person towards everything. I feel when you respect others, others will give you respect in turn and I just try to be the best person I can be and work with everybody because it's a team game and you have to be able to work with everybody. I'm just really excited to have the opportunity.
|(CW Pack Sports)|
IAF: I think for myself it comes from within. It's something I have to do for myself. I want to do it for my family and all of those things, but ultimately it comes down to for me to be the best person and best athlete I can be. My body is basically what I'm selling and I need to take care of it as best as I can. I feel if I go in everyday to workout and get better, I'm doing something that's going to help myself and boost everything that's going on around me.
ET: The Giants and Chiefs have talked about looking at you as a tight end, how surprised were you by that?
IA: Very surprised, I was like, "me a tight end?" I'm training out here, running some routes, and everything's going really well. I feel the more you can do the better off you'll be, so whatever they want me to do I'll do it; if they want me to become a free safety I'll be a free safety.
ET: How much do you think it's helped you to be around former NFL coaches like June Jones and Jerry Glanville?
IA: Oh, tremendously. I felt it was such a blessing to have them as my coaches. If it wasn't for June Jones I don't think I'd be playing football today. He was the one who offered me a scholarship out of high school without playing any football. He believed in me and I didn't want to let him down through those years. And that was another motivation for me.
ET: He's been quoted as saying that both he and Jerry Glanville believe they never had anyone like you when they were coaching in Atlanta or Houston. How do you respond to that?
IA: I'm actually speechless. How do you respond to that? That's really amazing; just that they feel that way about me is something else. All I do is try to work hard and do the best job I can everyday and it makes me feel good inside that they feel like that because they are NFL coaches and they know what they're talking about.
Scout.com subscribers can read the rest of this exclusive interview with Ikaika Alama-Francis on Friday where he talks about another top prospect from his team, Samson Satele, the possibility of playing linebacker, making the leap to the pro level and more!
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.|