To start with a sensitive subject, I don't believe you beat Florida while you were at Florida State. Any regrets?
Of course. But that's pretty much the case with any team you play. That game is a rival team. … I regret it, but at the same time, I'm still there at Florida State, even though I'm not there. If and when it happens, you won't be able to tell me nothing. I'm still part of that team.
Have you been in a game in your career more heated than that one?
Maybe (against) Miami. But personally, for me, it was Clemson. I took it personally because they didn't offer me (a scholarship). That was always personal for me.
Did you want to go there when you were growing up?
Not at all. It was just a respect thing, I thought. I was a nice recruit in South Carolina. I mean, they could at least show me some interest, right? But I went to Florida State, so it all worked out.
Do you think Florida State is close to getting back on top?
Without a doubt. I've been telling people that for a long time. Florida State, right now, is like a forest. It gets burned down and it's in ashes, but what grows back is a better forest. I just feel like we're rebuilding. Jimbo Fisher is there, and I think he's doing a heck of a job getting a coaching staff together that can relate to the players. It's a younger staff, and I think they'll really be able to relate to the players. I think there are a lot of positive things going on there right now at Florida State, and we're going to be back on top.
Here's our first weekly question: What is playing the most on your iPod right now?
I would say (rapper) Rick Ross, his most recent album. Tears of Joy, with Cee-Lo, is probably one of my favorite (songs). Rick Ross is really standing out to me.
And what website do you think you visit the most right now?
I'd say Google, because I've been trying to look at images and see what new pictures they have of me so I can (use) them as my status on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). Either that or NikeElite.com, just looking for things to try to give back to my family and the people that I love.
What's your best youth football memory?
A lot of people can't understand this because I play linebacker now, but back then, I was probably the softest player. I didn't like to hit. I didn't like to run the ball. I didn't like to have any contact at all. I think this was in elementary school. I played for the Aiken (S.C.) Tigers. The peewee team. We (stunk) so bad. We didn't win any games except for maybe one.
Maybe you should have hit someone?
I'm telling you, I was afraid to. But one day, what happened is, it just clicked. I said, "Okay, it seems like it hurts a lot more to receive a hit, so let me deliver a hit." So it was like I was a new bull in the ring. One night, you couldn't tell me nothing. I just started laying the wood on everyone. I was hitting people so hard that other players would get the ball and I'd be right there, so they would just go down on the ground. It was fun. I think that was my most memorable moment. And my most memorable conversation was with my dad. Now, he says, "If you would have told me back then that my son was going to be an NFL player … Get the heck out of here." I mean, I didn't hit anybody.
So why did it click all of a sudden?
I don't know. I think I was tired of getting hit all the time. I think there was one play when I was playing running back that just changed me. I was running, and there was this one kid … he stuck his forearm out. And this is a big guy. So he just stuck his forearm out, and my neck just caught it. I flipped and I landed flat on the ground. Then I opened my eyes and saw black. Then I opened my eyes again — black. Then I finally saw light, so I figured, "Okay, I'm back." I don't think I ever ran the ball again.
So, today, who would you say is your biggest fan?
It's got to be my parents. I mean, they've been supporting me since Day 1. They've always been there. When I was at Florida State, they only missed two games. They went to California, Utah — it didn't matter. My dad is near and dear to me. When I tell you I can spot him in any stadium I play in, I'm serious. I can spot my daddy. It's just that type of family atmosphere with us, unconditional love. We weren't the wealthiest people in the world, but they always made a way. So I just try to pay them back (while) knowing that I would never be able to repay them. They're definitely my biggest fans.