[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=””]1. Can you provide some background of your early life (environment, family, friends, school, etc.)?

Well, I was born and raised in Washington, DC. Although I am a product of a single parent environment, my grandparents played a vital role in my upbringing as well. I like to think of myself as very personable but have kept a small circle of friends. I graduated from NC A&T where I wasn’t a scholarship player. I was what you would call a “Holland Bowl Legend”. That’s what they normally called walk-ons at that school. I was one of the “unfortunate”. Wasn’t highly recruited, if recruited at all out of high school. I had to get mine out of the mud.

2. How did you develop a passion for football?

I’ve had a passion to play ever since I could remember. I had to have been 8 years old. My mother sat me down and told me about all my relatives that have paid their dues to the game before me. I knew then, It was only a matter of time before I followed in their footsteps.

3. Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

Athletically, my older cousin Rick. Rick was everything I ever wanted to be athletically. His will, his courage, his devotion, leadership, and tenacity. Rick was and still is my idol. My grandfather would take me to go see him play more times than often. Outside of athletics, my mother was my biggest influence. To be a single mother and raise a young boy into a man is not an easy job but she got it done despite the odds she faced. She kept me in the church and taught me how to lean on God for myself and put my trust in Him. When my grandfather passed away when I was only 15, my mother became my “coach”. Whatever she learned from my grandfather during his playing days when she was young, she implemented in me and my growth as an athlete and as a person. She was the greatest teacher I’ve ever had. BY FAR

4. How has your life changed since joining the Triangle Torch?

Playing for the Triangle Torch was definitely a fun experience. Coach Resignalo and I have history. He and I have crossed paths in the arena game many times. I was on my way back to the IFL where I had recently signed with The Green Bay Blizzard. Coach Res called me and told me about the Triangle Torch and his vision. I was already stationed in NC where I was working and training. After praying about the opportunities I had before me, I chose to stay and play for The Torch. I had a sense of peace to be honest.

5. What do you feel are the most important traits to have as a professional football player?

Along with a good sense of character, I’d definitely say be firmly rooted in your faith. Being firmly rooted will definitely keep you focused and give you the necessary guidance you need.

6. What are your future goals for your football career and for life in general?

If it’s meant, I’d love to get a crack at the NFL. I mean, who wouldn’t want that to be the ultimate goal right? In life, I just want to be able to fulfill my purpose and hopefully touch lives with my story. Brian Skinnell, when working for BSN some years back, did a write up on me and my story. At the age of 23, I lost my mother. 10 months after that, I lost my grandmother. Going through something as devastating as that, especially in that short of a time span, is a lot for anybody to bear. Thankfully, the values, and gems my parents deposited in me, I was able to persevere and push forward. Not just for myself, but for them because I know they would’ve wanted me to keep pressing toward the mark. I also want to play in the CAFL (Chinese Arena Football League). I believe not only is it a great opportunity to expand American football to the Eastern region, but I feel this venture is where I truly feel I can make my mark and sit at the same table as those in my family that have played before me. I made a promise to my parents to keep pushing. That’s a promise I plan to see through to the end.

7. Who is/was your favorite football player and why?

Sean Taylor. Hands down. Why? Why not? I was never a Miami fan. I was just a fan of Sean Taylor. His gameplay and presence alone altered an entire game. I admired his drive, his hunger, etc. When he was drafted by Washington, I was ecstatic. To be that big and that fast was unheard of at that position. He changed the game at the safety position, in my opinion. He played with reckless abandon. Definitely miss watching him play.

8. What do you feel you bring to your team (physically or mentally) and can bring to an NFL team?

If I had to say, I’d say leadership and physicality. Granted, the game can definitely get the best of most. I try to remain level headed in the face of adversity. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of games where I’ve been bested mentally. Who hasn’t? It can only make you better in the long run. To an NFL team? Versatility. I’m very versatile. I can play free or strong safety and if need be, I can play that rover safety in certain packages. Special Teams also. I feel I can do it all.

9. What do you attribute your success to?

The Most High God. None of this, from the teams I’ve played for to other opportunities such as this wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t for Him and Him alone. I’m just a vessel enjoying the journey. Also, my agent Calvin Williams from TruWill Sports Consulting LLC. I feel it was designed by God for Calvin to represent me. I was playing semi-pro football at one point in time for the Greensboro Heat. A teammate who happened to be close friends with Calvin saw my potential. One day, he pulled me to the side and told me I didn’t belong at this level and knew somebody up and coming that would work hard to put his people in a position to flourish. Few years later, it’s been history ever since. I’ve had my fair share of guys selling me dreams. Being young and hungry, you tend to bite because you’re new to it. Calvin is a different breed. He’s worked hard on my behalf and has always put me in great situations to prosper. I trust him. Not only as an agent, but as a friend.

10. What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy spending most of my time with my fiancée Jasmine. On top of that, I enjoy listening to music, training, boxing, and playing video games.

 

by Paul Cohen (pcohen1@ithaca.edu)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]