Q: What did you measure in at?
A: 6-2 7/8, 230 lbs
Q: What are your plans here? Are you doing everything?
A: I’m doing it all. I’m going to run. I’m going to throw. I’m here to showcase my skills, put it all out there.
Q: Where have you been training for this?
A: I’ve been training in Irvine, California with Velocity Sports Performance with a group from Athletes First. There have been about 13 of us training out there.
Q: How big do you think this week is for you?
A: Yes, this is a big week. When you think about it, most of the grade is already in with game film and all the games we played. But this is a big part of it. Guys want to see you in person, see you run, see how fast you are, see you throw, see your arm strength. This is a big part of it. It is just one piece of the puzzle. You don’t want to put too much stock in it but it is definitely very valuable and it’s going to be worth something.
Q: How does the system you were in help you and hurt you?
A: I think the system I was in is going to help me tremendously to play in the NFL. Under Coach Petrino, it was pretty much the same type of system the New York Giants run. It’s where he got the offense when he was with Tom Coughlin out at the Jacksonville Jaguars. We were in that system for pretty much three years. Switched over to more accountable one back spread with zone running my last year. But just being able to adjust to new systems and being in a pro style system, I think is going to help me out a lot.
Q: That is also Bill Parcell’s way. Talk about possibly playing for the Dolphins. Have you talked to them yet?
A: I have spoken to them briefly. Obviously, it would be great to be on the Dolphins and play for the Dolphins but I am here to showcase my skill to all the teams and try to get my draft stock as high as possible.
Q: Is it important to you to be the first quarterback taken?
A: I think it is important as a competitor. You want to be the first guy from your position taken. You want to be taken as high as possible. That’s just what all competitors want but at the same time I can’t worry about what other guys are doing. Can’t worry about what they are going to be doing. Just got to go out there and worry about myself. Go out there and perform.
Q: There are always different opinions about the quality of positions each year and if it is a good year for quarterbacks or receivers. You hear mixed views of this group. How do you see your group representing?
A: I think we have a very deep quarterback class. I think there are a lot of good quarterbacks here. Guys who have had very successful careers in college. Guys who will probably translate well into the NFL. I think there is a good group here and good competition. I’m looking forward to the competition.
Q: Did you consider coming out early?
A: Yes, I’ve definitely considered it. There were a lot of factors that played into it. But really I just wanted to come back for my senior year, play for the school I love and my hometown, try to make some great things happen. But obviously our season did not go as well as expected but I learned a lot from that. I think that it was very valuable and I would not go back and change a thing.
Q: Who is the best quarterback in this class?
A: That is a tough question. If you are going to ask me, I’m going to say it is me. There are a lot of opinions out there. I just need to go out and compete, get my stock up as high as I can and not worry about the other guys.
Q: You said you learned a lot from playing this past year but what did you learn the most?
A: What I learned the most was dealing with adversity. We went through a lot of struggling times, had to deal with a new coaching change, learn to operate in a new system, learn a new system quickly and be pretty successful offensively in that system. I’ve been on successful teams my whole career. Never had to go through a tough season like that. Just going through those struggles is something that at one point in time, whether you like it or not, it is going to happen in the NFL. You are going to have a struggling season. So just being able to deal with that. Knowing how to deal with it the correct way will help me in the future.
Q: Did Jeff get invited to the Combine when he was coming out and how much have you leaned on him?
A: Yes, my brother Jeff was invited to the Combine. He’s been great for me. He’s a guy that played in the NFL for seven years. He was teaching me NFL things since I was eight or nine years old. He was my position coach in college. He has been a huge influence on me and it has just been great to have that kind of experience in your own family to help you out.
Q: Is there one outstanding truth that he told you that maybe you brushed off before, but now you are seeing it come to light?
A: Not really. Since I’ve been young he’s been trying to groom me to be an NFL quarterback and go through the types of drills they do in the NFL, the types of reads they do in the NFL. We’ve been discussing this stuff since I was in high school. It was a huge advantage for me to have him around while going through college.
Q: Any special tips about the work out you have coming up?
A: There is no special tip that anyone can give you. You just need to go out there and be loose and throw the ball like you have been doing your whole life. The only tip is not to get too uptight and not to put too much stock in it and just go out there and throw the ball. It’s throwing the ball, throwing routes. Obviously, it is different receivers that you have not been practicing with but you have to adjust. If you are a good player and you can make those throws, you have to adjust to those receivers.
Q: What role did Coach Petrino play in your development?
A: Coach played a huge part in my development. He’s a tremendous x’s and o’s coach. He’s a hard-nose, tough coach. We ran NFL style offense. He geared things for the quarterback to be successful. He did a large part of coaching the quarterbacks. He really helped me out a lot to become a better player and take my game to the next level.
Q: What was your reaction when he went to Atlanta?
A: It was obviously a difficult situation for him. Maybe his style of coaching isn’t necessarily a perfect fit for the NFL and more of a better fit for college. But he wanted to give that a shot, you could tell he really did want to give it a shot and go to the NFL and see what he could do. But I guess that after the first 13 games, he had a change of heart and felt he was better suited at the college level.
Q: Talking to a couple of your teammates, they say that you lead more by example than you do with words. Can you talk about your leadership?
A: I would say I am more of a lead by example type of guy. I’m a guy who likes to grind, to get in the weight room, get on the field and just work hard. I think it wears off on the other guys if they see the quarterback working harder than anyone else. Then they are going to go out there and work hard as well. You don’t want to be seen getting special treatment, taking it easy when you are the quarterback. I just go out there and work hard, put it all on the line and hopefully the other guys will follow.
Q: Do you feel you’ll have to be more vocal at the next level?
A: I think that as a quarterback you do have to be vocal. You are expected to be the leader no matter if you are a young guy or not. You are expected to be a leader. It is the role of the position. You have to speak up and say things when they need to be said.
Q: You’ve seen some quarterbacks in recent years drop in the draft. Does that worry you at all?
A: There is nothing really to be worried about. I am just going to go out there and perform. Wherever that puts me in the draft, that puts me. I’m not going to get stressed out about it. I’m just going to go out there and show what I got. If teams like it, they are going to pick me high. If they are not so sure, I’m going to go a little lower.
Q: Did you consider playing baseball?
A: I wasn’t really a strong consideration. I was a 49th round draft pick. I do well in the game of baseball. I love playing baseball. Even they kind of knew that I was probably going to play football. I really didn’t consider it very strongly. Maybe kind of thought about trying to play both but I figured, might as well play football and put all my focus into that.
Q: What position did you play in baseball?
A: I played outfielder and was a pretty good hitter.
Q: Do you miss basketball?
A: Yes. I love playing basketball. Unfortunately, I was a forward on my high school basketball team so that doesn’t translate as well to the college level when you are over 6’2.
Q: What was your relationship growing up with your big brother?
A: He’s so much older than me. He’s 15 years older than me. So it has always been that kind of situation where he’s been coaching me. He’s been coaching me through grade school, giving me techniques and tips. He’s always had that mentor role. He’s not the type of brother you are rolling around with fighting. He’s more of a mentor, someone I looked up to. A guy that I wanted to be when I was growing up. It was great to have him around and learn from him.
Q: What are your impressions of Matt Ryan?
A: I’ve never seen a full game of his. From what I have seen, I think he is a great quarterback. It looks like he has a lot of poise, a lot of skill. Looks like he has good leadership qualities and his team follows him. He seems like a great quarterback. Just talked to him briefly and he seems like a great guy.
Q: Do you find yourself gauging yourself against him at all just because you are considered the two top guys here?
A: It’s hard for me to gauge him because I haven’t really watched any film of him or studied him that much. It’s hard to put in perspective.
Courtesy of the NFL