MW: Oh yeah, I've been doing it since I was eight years old. It's pretty much all I know, even if it's by myself catching, playing video games, just anything to do with football.
ET: You had a huge senior year, but you've been a great athlete all through your career; talk about your progression at Central Florida…
MW: I think I progressed real good, every year I got better and better. Freshman year I was just trying to get a feel for college, the atmosphere, the responsibility that comes with it, the schedules, everything. My sophomore year I came in and played corner and led the team in interceptions even though I only played in six games. After that I had a great receiving coach, D.J. McCarthy, and I think he really molded me into the receiver that I am today. He taught me everything. He always told me to work to be the best and that's pretty much all I know now, working to be the best I can be.ET: What kind of defensive back gives you the most trouble and how do you end up beating that kind of defender?
MW: The ones that sit. The offense we ran, we didn't throw deep too much, so the ones who sit on your routes probably gave me the most trouble. At one point you just have to take him out deep to keep him on his toes. But mainly the quarterback has to get their rhythm and create that Peyton (Manning)/(Marvin) Harrison kind of effect so he knows he can't just sit on my route.
|( Photo: Todd Drexler/UCF)|
ET: You had an ACL injury, what did that do to you mentally and how did you keep yourself going during that recovery process?
MW: The whole program and my family did a great job of helping me keep my head in the right way and keeping me mentally focused. My coaches, the players, the trainers, my family, they always just told me it wasn't over, that I still had next year, just go in and work hard and come out better than you were--and I think I did a good job of that. Personally I was down on myself, I was having a history-breaking season, went to my first bowl game and first conference championship, and bam, I tear an ACL and ended my season. It seemed like everything was going along great, it really devastated me. As soon as I tore it, the whole sideline came with me and comforted me and my family. Everybody made it so much better for me.
ET: You reportedly had one of the fastest 40-yard dash times at the Combine. Do you feel that was a result of preparation and if so, what did you learn from a technique perspective while training that was most valuable to you?
MW: I think the preparation and I felt like my knee was one hundred percent. I didn't feel any problems in it and it feels like it's back to normal. Another part is the training. I trained at a great facility and with a lot of great competition down south in Dayton, Florida with Pete Marino. He taught me a lot, showed me the ropes of the 40-yard dash. It was just getting the technique down. I think everyone's fast, but it's really during the first ten yards that you start that makes a huge difference. That's what we focused on mainly.
ET: You met with the Chiefs and the Falcons for formal interviews at the Combine, tell me about meeting with them...
MW: I had Herm Edwards, the GM, the owners, the receiver coaches were there, and it went good. As soon as I got in there, they popped in some film and told me to go through some plays. I went through the plays and all the receiver positions and what the quarterback had. I just had a good knowledge of the game and I thought it went good. Then with the Falcons, I met with Coach Petrino, the wide receiver coach, the owner was there and they just asked me a lot of questions; just the usual about life and family and of course football--and I think it went well.
ET: What are some of your attributes or skills that make you stand out from the rest of the draft class?
MW: I think for one I'm very versatile. I played corner so I know a lot of the defenses from their point of view. I can read secondaries. And just my route-running ability and my size with the speed I have. Just being that complete receiver, not just one-dimensional where you got your little small quick guys or you think I'm just going to go deep. I can do all of the jobs you ask for.Learn more about Mike Walker by visiting his player profile page.
|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.|