Is the ability to play multiple positions a help?
“I think it is. It makes me more versatile. I think that creates more value for me.”
What your experience playing in space?
“Not a lot. I don’t have a lot of experience in space. But I made some tackles in space.”
Are you working on that?
“Yes. I maybe dropped three times the whole season. I’ve done a lot of work in Arizona on that.”
Could you fill multiple roles like the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett?
“Yeah, I could be the type as him. Michael Bennett is a great example.”
Are Pac-12 defensive players underrated?
“Yeah. I think Oregon State players are.”
How did you end up in Corvallis?
“I had four offers and when I went on my visit to Oregon State I just loved it over there. I fell in love with the staff, the players.
I met some of the people. Great community. And it’s a small town. I don’t like that big-city life. I’ve more of a relaxed guy. So the
small town was a perfect environment for me.”
What will an NFL team be getting in you?
“Off the field, there are no issues. It’s as simple as that. On the field, I feel like I’ll make an impact right away. It will either be on defense or special teams or whatever the coach wants me to do.”
On the Combine and who he has met with …
“It was just chaos yesterday and everybody jumping from table to table. It was like speed dating, we were just jumping from table to table. So it was kind of neat to see.”
On if he is better stunting inside or in the B gap and what is his key …
“B gap? What is the key to getting penetration inside at tackle? Like
a 4-tech or a 3-tech? You’ve just got to get off the ball and attack, attack the opposing player and you’ve got to just play on their side of the ball. Coaches always told me, whatever you do, no matter if you are wrong, you’ve got to play on their side of the ball and that’s what I really took pride in this year and it’s worked out for me.”
On his main attributes as an edge guy …
“I think it’s just my get-off. It starts with my get-off. Just being explosive and coming right off the line and then you’ve got to have technique. I’ve worked on my craft these last couple years and I feel like I have improved and progressed as a defensive end using my hands, using my power, my speed. I think all those attributes help me a lot.”
On what he needs to work on to get ready for the NFL …
“Just my overall game. It’s coming to the best-of-the-best right now so I’ve got to work on everything from my stance to my get-off to being more powerful, more strong, faster. Just the overall aspect of being a defensive end.”
On how he got 10 forced fumbles …
“You’ve just got to keep playing. That’s what our defense tries, is we try to get turnovers for our offense. It was a mindset to get the ball out and I take pride in that.”
On his motor being a strength …
“I think my motor is one of my strengths. All the coaches have told me I’ve got a great motor. But I’ve got to stay consistent with it. I know I took a play off here or there. I still need to work on that, too.”
On Washington not offering him a scholarship and if that still drives him …
“I wouldn’t say that situation, but I definitely have a chip on my shoulder just to prove myself that I am one of the best defensive ends, and not only that but one of the best prospects in this draft. I’ve got that chip that I want to be one of the best.”
On if he has ever talked to Steve Sarkisian …
“No, we haven’t talked since I talked to him at Junior Day at UW. I talk to the O-line coach, D-line coach, great guys. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an offer.”
On his decision to enter the draft now …
“I did it for my family. I love my family. I’ve taken this responsibility to take care of them. My mom works two jobs, and my dad is disabled and still works a job, too. They are getting old and I want them to retire and just stop working. I just did this for my family. I was going to come back to college, but just to see my family struggle – we didn’t have much growing up and to see my family struggle, I wasn’t OK with that so I had to do something and this is one of the greatest opportunities for me to take care of my family.”
On leaving now vs. staying for another year to help NFL stock …
“I don’t even know because I didn’t even get a grade evaluation. I just made my point that I just wanted to go to the league and at the same time I want to take care of my family, but at the same time I want to be one of the best defensive ends in the league.”
On what it would mean to him to be able to take care of his family …
“Oh it would just mean so much to me because my parents have taken care of me since day one and to do this for them it’s just, I don’t know, I can’t put it into words.”
On when he was in high school, did he envision a moment like this …
“It didn’t really hit me because I was still trying to let going to college sink in. It was crazy going to college first. I wasn’t really thinking NFL. I was just thinking, college? Going to college? That’s a great opportunity right there and I’ve got to take advantage of that. But since I’ve grown through the years, the NFL was definitely on my mind.”
On his family …
“I have two brothers, one sister. I’m the baby, but I wasn’t the spoiled one.”
On where his parents are from …
On his father …
“He had his leg amputated a while back so he has an artificial leg. He works at a warehouse right now, which is barely getting by like $10 an hour, and he takes care of my grandpa. My grandpa is 90-something and he just passed. It was just unfortunate, and this was all happening at once.”
On why his father had his leg amputated …
“It was health-related.”
On his dad being named Lucky …
“That’s his given name.’’
On if he knows Stephen Paea well …
“I was a freshman and he was a senior and I didn’t want to distract him. He was doing great things on the field … I just wanted to see it from an outside perspective. I learned a couple of things from him like just great explosiveness. You see his film, my D-line coach showed me some film where he just gets off the ball so fast and the center can’t put his hands up, so I kind of try to emulate that in my game, put that in my game so I can become versatile.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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