Before They Were Pros: Dustin Fox

Dustin Fox played cornerback and safety at Ohio State before being drafted by the Vikings in the third round, so it was natural that many of the questions he fielded at the combine, before he knew where he was going and where he'd play, focused on his position. He also talked extensively about the Ohio State highway to the NFL and his family's athletic bloodlines.

On the transition to the NFL: "It's a big transition going from being a student-athlete to being a professional. I think it's going to be a huge step, a step I think I'm ready for. I mature enough to handle the situation; my coaches have prepared me for it."

On what positions teams think he's best suited for: "It's hard to say. A lot of teams have me as a safety, a lot of teams have me as a corner. The thing I tell them is I have no preference. I think that's the right answer. Whatever they want me to play is what I'm going to do."

On if he has a preference: "No, I don't. I couldn't because I came in as a safety and they put me at corner just like that and I didn't say anything."

On his versatility giving him an edge: "I hope so. I think playing corner has only helped my chances of playing safety. The way the league is now you have to have safeties who can run. I can do that."

On his relationship with Mike Doss: "We have a good relationship. We're both from Canton (Doss at McKinley, Fox at GlenOak), we played against each other in high school. When I came to Ohio State, he was my mentor. Mike's done a lot of things well so whatever he says I try to take it to heart."

On what he expected to run in the 40: "That's a hard question to answer. I've consistently run 4.4s my whole career. I would be happy running something like that."

On the track being slow: "Not at all. I don't think it's a slow track. Whatever you put into your training should show here. You see Ronnie Brown ran a 4.32 and he's huge. Obviously he works hard and he's fast. We train on AstroTurf all the time. That's what we always run on. It's such a great opportunity with all the looks you get and the exposure with television."

On opening some eyes with his speed: "I'll try to. I'll just do my best. Throughout my career I've had good speed, I think that's one of the positive strengths I have. Coming in here, that's something that I wanted to solidify, that I'm not an issue with speed."

On showing athleticism as a smaller player: "That's a goal, to come here and show them that I'm definitely up there with a lot of the big-name guys athletically. What I do on the field, that's a different question."

On getting a sense of where he might get drafted: "I don't. Wherever. Honestly. Right now this is an opportunity for me to get myself out there and let teams know I'm a definite prospect."

On his uncle Tim: "I've spoken with him a few times. It's really good to have a pedigree like that. Not only to talk to him, but the scouts can see I have good family tree. Four uncles played at Ohio State, three people in my family played, my brother played in the Big Ten and the NFL."

On his brother Derek playing at Penn State: "He's my best friend. The whole time I've been here I've been texting him back and forth and telling him what's going on. He says ‘Relax, just have fun.' He didn't get invited to the combine when he came out. He was a free agent. He thinks I'm in a better situation than he had and I should take advantage of it to the fullest."

On the best WRs he went up against: "I faced some ones in the Big Ten. You'd have to say Braylon Edwards would be up there, as well as Bryant Johnson, a first-round draft pick of the Cardinals, Courtney Roby from Indiana this year, I thought he was tremendous. There was a lot of good talent there, it's hard to say one guy is better than the other."

On what he took away from the Shrine Game: "I think it prepared me to come into a situation like this. It was a little of an eye-opening experience dealing with the interview process, dealing with kind of being put on display. It's a whole new experience. I'm going into this more relaxed and I feel good about it."

On wearing a LeBron Nike bracelet, clear plastic on right wrist: "That's for good luck. I like LeBron. I haven't taken it off this season. I don't know, I just started wearing it. Everyone else has Lance Armstrong, but I think it's cool. I got it at Finish Line."

On his left arm scar that is at least 6 inches long, from a broken radius Sept. 11: "It's doing very well. They're poking it like crazy around here. I actually have to come back here April 1 to look at it again. Some teams look at it and said it was fine. There's maybe one guy who says, ‘We have resources, so let's take advantage and look at it.'"

On the great OSU cornerbacks fraternity: "I'm really close with the guys who I played with, Derek Ross, Chris Gamble, the safeties Donnie Nickey and Mike Doss. The previous guys, I know Nate Clements and Ahmed Plummer pretty well. I've never met Antoine Winfield, but I definitely have great respect for him. Shawn Springs I've met a couple times."

On big footsteps to follow: "It's tough, but it's a great challenge."

On the pressure of being a Fox: "Lots of expectations. I think it can be good and bad, depending on how you look at it. Having a great family tree helps as far as the scouts looking at it and seeing that the kid has a lot of background and he's athletic and he's been successful at all phases and levels. That's good. For me it creates expectations, having to live up to things my uncles and my brother has done. It's tough at times, but it keeps me motivated and challenged at all times."

On family being magnified in the NFL: "I don't know. I would imagine it does. But playing at a place like Ohio State, a lot of people don't understand because Ohio State is very much like a pro organization because Columbus doesn't have a pro team. There's a ton of pressure and a ton of expectations. If you get beat for a touchdown, people think you're a bad player. If you lose a game, you can't walk the street. How seriously they take it in Columbus has prepared me for going to the next level."

On playing in front of a smaller crowd: "That's true, 30,000 less. It will be very much the same. It might not be as loud as Ohio State, but it will be fun."

On his brother and uncle, pressure of family name: "There's no pressure from them. It's more love and support. I never got pressure to go to a certain school or when I was in school to do certain things. Everyone had confidence in me as well as myself. I've just done my best."

On if he can play safety, what adjustment he'll have to make: "Not much. I've always had myself familiar with the defense and what everyone does, so that's not a big adjustment. Skill-wise it's very similar. A lot of similar techniques, a little bit different positions, not as much covering. A little bit more covering space than covering a guy. I'm very comfortable with whatever it takes."

On being big enough: "I think so. I may add some pounds. When I was playing corner I didn't feel I needed to add weight. I think I've had my body count done where I could add 10 to 12 pounds of more lean muscle mass and not lose any speed. That would put me around 200 or 205."

On training in Columbus: "A lot of training with strength coaches at Ohio State, as well as at a new facility called Max Sports. I will graduate next quarter with a degree in communications."

On being nervous about where he would be picked: "Not at all. I'm just so happy to be here. I have no complaints at all. If I get picked by a team it would be like a dream come true. It's not like I'm here to say, ‘Hey, I should be selected in the first round this year.' I'll show what I can do. If they like it, great. If I get picked up I guarantee I'll give it my best."

On which teams are impressed: "I hear lot of teams are. I get a good feel from teams. I'm very optimistic. I feel like I'm definitely here with a purpose and getting a lot accomplished."

On OSU's pro day: "Last year it was unbelievably huge. This year it will be about half that. I'm not saying I'm going to run there. I'll just run here unless I do something ridiculously stupid here. We'll see what happens. It's good to have a backup. If you don't run here and you run at Ohio State and pull up, you're in bad shape."

On Doss' game: "We have some of the same characteristics as far as personality and things like that. He's totally different, he's much more in the box, I'm more of a cover guy. Even if I played safety it would probably be free safety, so that's more where you can cover in the slot and be in the middle of the field a lot and not be so involved in the run like Mike is. Mike wants to blitz every play."

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