STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut football team held it annual Pro Testing Day on Wednesay and virtually every NFL team was represented. The attendees includng numerous NFL assistant coaches, scouts and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichcik.
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On his transition from defensive end to linebacker:
"[The coaches] know my abilities. I showcased them multiple times and I'm sure they've seen me. I know I can play various positions and I believe I'm that kind of athlete. To be able to adjust my position is not a problem."
Did playing in all-star games give you confidence to know you can play at the next level?
"For me, it was an opportunity to really showcase what I can do and the tools that [my coaches] have given me. I went in to each one of those games with a chip on my shoulder; trying to really prove a point and show guys that I am the best linebacker in this class and that I can do everything on the field that they asked me to do and that I'm a leader first and foremost."
Did comments from scouts or critics impact you at all?
"I've never cared about what anybody said; even when I was [at Connecticut]. If I was worried about that, then I wouldn't be where I'm at now. Because I know who I am and the type of player I am and the type of leader I am to my team. I have to go out there and execute so that they believe in me too."
What part of your game do you think most benefits you?
"I'm a leader. No matter what, if you're a leader, you can set an example; show people something that they want to do or be a part of."
Did it help to have teammates at the NFL Combine?
"One hundred percent. I love my guys. To be able to get there with those guys; it was a great opportunity how it happened."
"We stay close. We teach each other on and off the field. [The coaches] bring us in and we become a tight-knit group. You can just see, it's almost like a fraternity the way we keep rolling. Darius Butler actually texted me to see how I did. You see a guy that graduated five years ago cares about what we're doing now."
"I remember one time, before I even thought I could make it to the NFL, he told me I could. He was like, `your fast, you have size, you have all this...' and it's the stuff that I'm hearing now; my size, my speed, my skillset. He was the person that saw that in me before I even did."
How much did it help having Dwayne Gratz at the NFL Combine?
"It was great having Dwayne out there. He went before me, so I kind of was able to talk to him at the Combine. The whole time at IMG and at the Senior Bowl, I've had Trevardo and Sio as well around me. It has been good to have UConn guys. It's definitely better to do this with your boys than to do it by yourself."