Note: The following appears in the The Citadel gameday football program. To purchase a copy of the program while supplies last, send a check for $7 to Clemson Athletic Communications; P.O. Box 31; Clemson, SC 29633 with your return address.
Q. Why did you choose Clemson out of high school?A. Being from Belton, the proximity to home was important to me, and the people in the program had a positive influence on me when I met them.
Q. You were a three-time state weightlifting champion in high school. Is that trademark strength your best football-related attribute?A. I was considered strong in high school, but there are definitely stronger players at the college level. For my size, I do pack a punch, but my instincts are ultimately what help me make plays.
Q. How have you improved since your career started?A. I understand football in a whole different way. I’ve learned how to play fast and recognize plays fast, allowing me to make plays all over the field.
Q. As a veteran, what is your approach to leadership?A. Consistency is what I bring. I try to set an example by bringing the same work ethic to the table day in and day out. I always make sure I’m working hard.
Q. You have played around several talented linebackers here. What has it been like to learn from them?A. It’s been huge. Learning from Stephone Anthony, Tony Steward, B.J. Goodson, Ben Boulware and guys like that taught me how to put in the work required to be great. We are made of nothing but hard workers.
Q. What allows the Tiger defense to remain elite?A. We’re always so close as a defense, chemistry-wise, that it translates to success on the field. Also, the culture instilled by coach (Brent) Venables ensures that players will buy in if they want to play.
Q. What has been your favorite memory as a Tiger?A. My first start, which came at Auburn in 2016, was my shining moment here. I had 14 tackles and was named ACC Linebacker-of-the-Week. That was a big confidence booster for me.
Q. What makes Dabo Swinney such a great leader?A. He is a genuinely good guy who cares about all his players. He also has fun. Some of the best moments of my time here have been at Club All In.
Q. Who are the biggest inspirations in your life?A. My parents and grandparents have been big inspirations. My grandfather, in particular, has always pushed me because he was once a great athlete but had to quit school and go to work. Because of him, I’ve always been appreciative of my opportunities.
Q. Which current NFL linebackers do you emulate?A. I was always a huge fan of Ray Lewis. Patrick Willis and Jon Beason are two other linebackers I looked up to. I always liked Beason because, like me, he’s undersized but could still make plays.
FAVORITESActor – Denzel WashingtonAll-time athlete – Shaquille O’NealClass – General Biology IFood – Chicken & Shrimp AlfredoHobby – Making beatsLift – Bench pressMusical artist – J. ColeSport other than football – Basketball
March 14, 2019