Nov. 10, 2004
If you could open and run any kind of restaurant, what kind of food would you serve and where?
I would open up a Chinese restaurant. Chinese food mixed in with a little bit of seafood. It would a Chinese/seafood/soul food restaurant. I would open it up in downtown Atlanta, close to campus. I think I would make some pretty good money.
If you were elected to be the President of the U.S. tomorrow, what would be your first act?
My first act would be to get the economy straightened out, balance the budget and get jobs back in America. I would try to do the little things that would make a big difference later on. I would try to get most Americans jobs by getting jobs back to America from overseas. I think that would help out with poverty bringing jobs back to America. I would go ahead and do that first. That would be it for my first day.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I have a good heart. If I have some money or something you need and I know you, it’s yours. That’s the type of person I am. I am not selfish at all.
Do you show the freshmen the ropes each year?
Yeah. Freshmen come in and I don’t ever treat them like they are under me. I try to treat them like I always wanted to be treated. That’s how I look at life. I treat people how I want to be treated. That counts for everybody.
What do you think about the freshmen who had to play on the line this year?
The freshmen and the other guys who had to step in and play this year I think did a really good job. They handled the situation like mature offensive linemen. Sometimes when you come to college and you are young, you get lost in the mix. They really surprised me. If I have some advise I give it to them. If I can tell them anything, I tell them.
What advice would you have for the people starting their careers here at Georgia Tech?
The advice I would give is: start off fast; don’t start off slow. Go to class everyday. Work hard in the weight room. Work hard on the field. Look at it as everything is going to pay off in the end. A lot of college kids get to college and say I’m not going to have time to have some fun. They think, `I want to do this. I want to do that.’ So they skip class to go and have fun and party. I wish I could go back now to my freshman year and all of that would be gone. I wouldn’t worry about any of that. I know in the long run working hard and staying up on my grades is going to pay off in the end. If I could tell anybody anything it would be to stay focused your freshman year and your sophomore year. Stay focused throughout your college career.
What would be your ultimate Sports Center highlight?
My ultimate Sports Center highlight would be Georgia game, fourth quarter and we are down by three. We run the sweep my way, 39 bob. I hook the defensive end and the running back cuts off of me straight into the end zone for the touchdown.
If you could communicate with any type of animal, which would you pick?
Turtles. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was my favorite cartoon when I was growing up. I have three turtles at my house now. I have always been a turtle fan. I had four, but one of them died. I named them after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo passed away though. If I could communicate with any animal, it would have to be turtles. They are one of the coolest animals out there. My favorite Ninja Turtle was Michelangelo. He was always wild. He was the fun guy. I used to tape my fingers up and make me some nun chucks out of sticks and have a good time all day playing Ninja Turtles.
If you had to exchange wardrobes with someone on the team, whose clothes would you want?
I would have to say Darius Williams since I wear most of his clothes anyway. I wear a lot of DA’s clothes so I would have to go with Darius. He has some pretty good clothes. They aren’t too tight. They are kind of retro, kind of old school. It’s like he has had them since the sixth grade. I would have to go with Darius.
Whose clothes would you not want?
George Cooper. Coop wears the weirdest clothes I have ever seen in my life. Green shoes, green shirts with yellow outlines on them. I just can’t do it. The El Guapo shoes though are the best ever. I just couldn’t wear them. I am proud of Coop because he is not scared to take a stand. He is not afraid to put on anything and I respect him for that. Me personally, I couldn’t do it.
Tell about one visible scar…
It would have to be the wrist injury that has been nagging me since I have been in college. I was playing a football game my senior year of high school. I broke my wrist. I broke one of those little bones in my wrist. I ended up playing for an entire year without knowing it was broken. When I got into college, they X-rayed it and saw that it grew back a little crooked. They went in to break it again and set it back in the right position so I could get full mobility in my wrist. I went through that surgery and then after that all kinds of problems happened. I got bone spurs so they went in to get the bone spurs off. Then I got a staff infection after that surgery. I got the staff injection and that messed up my wrist pretty bad. The scar went from being about an inch to about three or four inches. This is my whole story of college right here, my wrist. It tells a lot.
If you could relive any single family outing in your life what would it be?
It would have to be just being at home with my grandma when she was living with my brother and sister and everyone at home. Just being at home with my grandma and seeing her, I wish I could do that again, but she died last year. I know your grandma always wanted you to do well in both school and football.
How much is it going to mean to you to get a degree from Georgia Tech?
It is going to feel great. I only have six or seven classes left. I am going to see what this season does for me and see if I have any chance of going on to the next level. I am getting my degree. I have made it this far, so there is no turning back now. I am going to pull this off and hang my degree in my grandma’s room at our old house.
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?
It would have to be the Atlanta Falcons on the fifty-yard line. I love Atlanta and love the state of Georgia. I am a Georgia boy at heart.
What is the nicest compliment that you have received?
I was out one night and I smiled and a girl came up to me and told me I had a pretty smile. I have gotten that a couple of times.
When your Tech days are over, how would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a hard worker, not selfish and committed to what I was doing. I would like to be remembered as an all-around student athlete.
Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
I had a couple of good influences. My grandma has always been an influence on me in life and in my athletic career. She was always pushing me to keep on doing what I needed to do to be the best. The last couple of years though, I would have to say Coach D [D’Alessandris] my offensive line coach. He always tells me straightforward what I need to do. Any time he can help me he will. He has probably been my most committed coach I have ever had. His one on one with the players, you can tell he cares.
If you could teach any subject/thing, what would it be?
I would have to teach college biology. I would make that course a lot easier. I love biology. I didn’t too so well in biology when I got to college, but high school, middle school and elementary school it was all science. I was always thinking scientifically. I liked dissecting animals. I used to go hunting. I wouldn’t really call it dissection, but I have skinned a couple of squirrels, a couple of raccoons, deer and opossums. Skinning a deer is wild. There is a lot of stuff in there. People don’t always realize that. When I am in biology dissecting a little earthworm, I’m like, `this isn’t anything.’ With a deer, I can hold the heart in my hands. I used to eat deer, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, gator. There aren’t too many animals I haven’t eaten yet.
When I was a youth growing up, I pretended to be like…
The Ninja Turtles. Michelangelo and the Ninja Turtles, all day. I used to play Ninja Turtles all the time. The Maryland game we were sitting in the hotel room and Ninja Turtles came on TV. Me and KT (Kevin Tuminello) sat down and watched it. It brought back a lot of memories. Then at the game, Maryland played the Ninja Turtles theme song and it snapped back in my head so I was singing the theme song the whole game.
If you were forced to give up all of your possessions but one, what would it be?
My family. I wouldn’t give up my family for anything. I have two twin daughters and a girlfriend who loves me. I wouldn’t give up my family for anything. I would give up everything to still have my family.
What is your best non-athletic talent?
Most people don’t know, but I am a pretty good artist. I can draw. I get down with the art. I am also good at housecleaning. Overall, that is the best talent I have. I can go in a house and clean it to a tee. I get that from my grandma. She was a cleaner. I can clean up so good. I clean up all the time. I am compulsive. I have to have everything organized and cleaned up.
What one thing makes you smile?
When I go home and see my two little daughters and they look up at me, I just brighten up like the sun. My two little twin daughters brighten me up everyday. There isn’t anything that can go wrong as long as they are doing good. They brighten up my day pretty good.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being a college athlete?
You have to work hard to have a competitive edge. It isn’t like high school where you can just overpower everybody. You have to learn technique. You have to listen. You can’t be hardheaded. You have to be humble and listen to what other people are trying to tell you. Most of the time they are right. I think I learned a lot. I have matured a lot since my freshman year. Your college years you can’t get back. I wouldn’t give anything for them either. I learned so much about the world and how things go.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
My pre-game ritual actually starts on Thursday. Every Thursday practice, I don’t tape my ankles. I put tape around them. When [Coach] O’Leary was here we had to have our ankles taped. On Thursdays it was a light practice, but he made sure you stayed taped every practice. I would take a piece of tape and run it across my foot to look like I got taped up. That is the beginning of the Thursday practice. Friday’s practice I always have to have play soccer with the football right before walkthrough. On Saturday, I just rest and drink a lot of Gatorade. Right before the game I have to have a dip, Copenhagen. I have to have a dip before the game and stretch out and relax and listen to music.
What is the best thing about being a college athlete at Tech?
Everything. All aspects of it. Coming up from high school, you had to pay for you own shoes, cleats. You never stayed in a hotel. You didn’t get any good dinners. Everything from the coaching staff to the players. It’s awesome. Getting escorts to the games from the police. That was all new to me. I was like, `wow. This is a whole new level.’
What has been the most memorable game that you have been a part of?
I would have to say the Clemson game this year when we came back in the fourth quarter. That was wild. I knew we could pull it off, but I never thought it would happen like that. It was up in Death Valley and it is rough up there in Death Valley. It was wild, but we did it. We just kept fighting and we won it.
What won’t you miss about being a college athlete?
I will not miss six o’clock workouts in the spring. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning to be at the Rose Bowl at six, working hard for an hour and a half. That’s probably the hardest part of being a college athlete. I can’t say I will miss those.
If you could have the largest collection of one thing, what would it be?
CDs. I used to have so many CDs. All of them are gone now. I don’t know what happened to them. I had a large collection and I was collecting them, but when Napster came around and mp3s came out, I stopped my collection.
What is your all-time favorite meal?
Neck bones and rice. Yep, neck bones, rice and corn bread. That is my all-time favorite right there. I haven’t eaten it so much since I got to college. My grandma used to make if for me. When she made it, it was my all-time favorite meal.
If you were a pro wrestler what would your name be?
The Savage. That is my nickname so I would have to go with it. My special move would be the bear hug. I used to wrestle in high school and that was my special move in high school. I would have to go with it again. Once I got the bear hug on you, it was over. There was no escaping the bear hug.
What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
My first Halloween costume was Spiderman, but my favorite was the Freddy Krueger costume with the knives for fingers and the little Freddy mask. I loved that one.
If you could make one thing come true for a friend what would it be and for whom?
I would have to be Jimmy Dixon. I would want him to have all the girls and all the money he wanted. I would give him like $3-million dollars and say have fun with your life. Jimmy has been there for me a lot. I know what he is looking for in life. He would like to get out there and do things. He likes girls and he likes money. I would have to give him the girls and money.
What team would you add to the schedule?
I would want to play Florida State again for my senior year. I would say Florida State and Troy State. My other best friend Alfred Malone played for Troy State. I would like to play those guys. They are doing pretty good this year and he is talking a lot of smack. I would have to put them on the schedule.
Name a professor that has had an impact on you here at Tech:
I would have to say Dr. Alexander. She teaches African American History in HTS [History, Technology and Society]. I have taken all three of her African American history classes. It was a fun class. She made it very positive and fun and I really enjoyed it. Next semester I think I am going to get into one of her classes. She has one other class that she teaches.