Sept. 30, 2004
How did you get your nickname?
I got `The Admiral’ nickname from Coach Tenuta because I went to a prep school that was navy prep. So based on my experiences in the navy and Coach Tenuta went to a military prep school too, he gave me the name `admiral’. I have been around long enough to run a ship he said. That’s how I got it.
If you could open and run any kind of restaurant, what kind of food would you serve and where?
I would open a country cooking’ restaurant and have my mom cooking because she is the best cook in the world. I bring up some of the guys from the team to my house every so often and they always want to come back up because she is the best cook. I would probably put it somewhere in Atlanta so she wouldn’t have to travel too far to get to work.
If you were elected to be the President of the U.S. tomorrow, what would be your first act?
There are so many things that I would like to do, but I would go back through the constitution where they talk about separation of church and state and reinstate what it meant back then and not what it has got to today. They have gotten away from what our founding fathers believed in.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I have a shy side. Most of the time I am boisterous and outgoing, but I have to do that to prevent myself from being shy. If I come into a situation, I hate to feel uncomfortable so the best way for me to counteract that is to make myself uncomfortable to get used to it.
What would be your ultimate Sports Center highlight?
My ultimate Sports Center highlight would be causing a fumble or intercepting a pass in the Georgia game returning it 99 yards with my blazing speed. I think it would be funny listening to the broadcasters hearing them make fun of me for how fast I was driving down the field and scoring a touchdown.
If you could communicate with any type of animal, which would you pick?
I would have to pick dogs. They are man’s best friend and you are around them all the time. I would like to see if they really like us as much as we like them. I used to have a dog, but not any more. I am planning on having a kennel when I get older of four different types of dogs. I would like to know what each of those types of dogs were thinking. I would like to do boxers; I would like to do beagles, blue ticks and bloodhounds. I just like the beagles, blue ticks and bloodhounds just because they are country dogs and they are hunting dogs. Boxers are just the classiest looking sport dogs I can think of. Very noble and prestigious.
If you had to exchange wardrobes with someone on the team, whose clothes would you want?
I would exchange my wardrobe with Gavin Tarquinio’s new wardrobe. It’s nothing but polo’s and khakis. So if I could exchange my wardrobe with his that would be perfect. It’s just classic right now. His old wardrobe consisted of t-shirts and long jams shorts. His new wardrobe is just oxford shirts and khakis. He is trying to step it up for the ladies.
Tell about one visible scar…
This is a good story. We were up at Lake Burton two summers ago right before camp. That week we have off before camp. I was up there with Hal Higgins, Dan Dyke and Brian Camp at Hal’s lake house. Brian Camp and I were out there on the lake on two different tubes in a boat. I was jumping from my tube to his tube, and he didn’t want me on his tube so he kicked me. I bit through my lip. Hal said, `we have to take you to the hospital.’ I said, `no, because if we do that, we will lose a day at the lake.’ So, they just taped my whole face up and we stayed out on the lake the whole day.
If you could relive any single family outing in your life what would it be?
My sister got married this past summer and it the first time in a long time that I was able to hang out with my extended family, aunts and uncles and cousins and my grandparents. Everyone was so happy that day when my sister got married. I would just like to relive that one again. Maybe my younger sister will get married pretty soon.
If you could have season tickets for any team, sitting in any place in the stadium, which team would it be and where would you sit?
I would take Tennessee Titans, 50-yard line, but not field level. I would sit up there in the club level so I can get catered to. Have some pizza brought to me on the hour. That’s where I would be, up in Nashville. My family is originally from that area. My sister goes to school up there. I have always been a fan since they moved from Houston.
What is the nicest compliment that you have received?
The nicest compliment is that I am nice and outgoing and I can make anyone feel comfortable in a situation.
When your Tech days are over, how would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a guy, who came in, did his business, knew what was going on, and handled his aspect of the job. I would like to be remembered as a guy who worked hard enough to stick it out five years and make something. Have the dream turn into a reality.
Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
I would say my dad, just because he started me off young playing sports. Any time I needed someone to go out there and play catch with me or teach me how to shoot a basketball, he was always there and never told me no. Through my relationship with him, he has been the one who has influenced me the most because he always helped me practice even when there was an excuse not to he would say, `hey, let’s go out there and do this.’
If you could teach any subject/thing, what would it be?
It would definitely be biology because I am a biology major. Hopefully, since I have been here for eighteen years at Tech, I know a little about biology. That’s what I would teach.
When I was a youth growing up, I pretended to be like…
I pretended to be like any baseball player in a stack of baseball cards. We used to go through a stack of baseball cards and pick out a player and say, `alright, this is who I am going to be.’ I was Ozzie Smith to Jose Canseco to Lonnie Smith. Whoever it was, that’s what were growing up based on the baseball cards of the day.
If you were forced to give up all of your possessions but one, what would it be?
I would not give up my bible. That is the only thing that is substantial for everyday.
What one thing makes you smile?
When Coach Tenuta is getting on someone and it’s not me. That makes me smile. Winning always makes me smile. Seeing people being helped out in a situation when they didn’t think it was possible and they got help, that always puts a smile on my face too.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being a college athlete?
I have learned that persistence that makes anything possible. Whether it’s on the field or in the classroom, you just have to stick with it. So many times it’s easy to give up, but being an athlete and being in college you learn that you have to stick it out for the good things to show.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I usually read the program guide. I like to get in there and get taped pretty quickly. I usually gather with a couple of guys and pray before the game.
What is the best thing about being a college athlete at Tech?
The best thing here is the relationships you get to make with the athletes on the team and the other athletes here. Just the people here at Tech because it’s a close-knit community. Everybody is going through the same thing you are and having the same basic struggles and ups and downs that you have that you get a close personal relationship with your teammates.
What has been the most memorable game that you have been a part of?
Most memorable game would most definitely have to be the Clemson from this past year just because it showed ultimate team effort and perseverance coming back in the last six minutes of the game to score points we weren’t able to score all game. Just sticking to it and nobody doubting that we were going to do it. We got so many lucky breaks. It was good for me. Coming from where I have been and to be counted on in the last play to stop them from scoring on the Hail Mary. To be part of the game and watch Calvin [Johnson] do what he does at his young age, you know it’s something you are going to remember because he is just going to step it up from here. Reggie [Ball] is going to step up from here. This game is going to be a stepping-stone and a catalyst for our season this year.
What won’t you miss about being a college athlete?
I won’t miss meetings that I think are unnecessary. Whether it’s five minutes on a Sunday just to tell us we have dinner on Monday night. I don’t need to know that. I don’t need to come in on Sunday and waste my time. That’s one thing I won’t miss; wasting my time going to things that I don’t think are that important.
If you could have the largest collection of one thing, what would it be?
Dale Jarrett memorabilia. Nascar…whoo!
What is your all-time favorite meal?
All-time favorite meal would be green bean casserole, squash casserole and this chicken mashed potato combination that my mom makes. Excellent. Never fails.
If you were a pro wrestler what would your name be?
The Admiral. I would have everyone salute me as I came out into the ring. I would wear my navy whites and strip down when I got into the ring. I would put on the `anchor lock.’ I would have to make that one up. I don’t think that have that one, but they will.
What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
It wasn’t my costume that I costume that I wore because I was pretty jealous that I didn’t get to wear it. It was my sister’s when she dressed up as the beanstalk from `Jack and the Beanstalk.’ She had a G.I. Joe figure as Jack and a He-Man as the giant coming down the beanstalk. She was all green and leafy and I thought that was cool.
If you could make one thing come true for a friend what would it be and for whom?
I have a friend, David Ellis. He had some back injuries and had to stop playing football. I would give him a clean bill of health and a nice strong back and let him go out and finish what he started.
What team would you add to the schedule?
I would add Tennessee. I grew up a Volunteer fan. I like to keep up with them and I would like to say that I beat them. My brother is a Tennessee fan too. I would love to rib him if we played them and beat them. I would do a home and away series just so people at Tech could get the experience of playing in Neyland Stadium. I think it’s a great atmosphere for football, but I wouldn’t want to give away our home field advantage.
Name a professor that has had an impact on you here at Tech:
Dr. Jeannette Yen. She is a biology teach here. I am in a class of hers now on animal behavior. She just provides so much life and excitement to class. Some times classes get dull and boring, but she is so peppy and spunky that she keeps you awake and interested in what she is teaching.
Being the one of theoldest guys on the team, do you have any advice for the younger guys?
Being the oldest guy on the team by at least three years, I would just say `the going is gonna get tough’ and as the cliché says, `the tough gotta get going.’ They have to stick it out. The harder and the more they put into it, the more they are going to get out of it.
What is your favorite Coach Tenuta quote?
One of my favorite quotes he has. After you have been at Tech a while and you have played in his system for two years, he gives you more responsibility in helping out the younger kids. If the younger kids mess up their assignments, he will just look at you, call you by your nickname and say, `you’re fired’, which means stop talking to these younger kids. He will look at me and say, `Admiral, you’re fired!’ That’s one of my favorites that I can actually say.