When you played for Lakeland High, you won two mythical national championships. What do you remember about that ride you guys had?
Well, we didn't lose a game my junior or senior year (2005-2006). Before I transferred there, they didn't lose the season before either. So it was a 45-0 streak. We had lost a lot of guys going into my senior year, and we were going to be playing a lot of backups. But those guys had played a lot because every game we played was a blowout by the third quarter. And we just kept on blowing people out with that team. We had great athletes, man. Seven of us signed with Florida. We had one kid go to Alabama, one to LSU. And we had guys go to smaller schools, too.
I hear you made the game-winning tackle in the state championship game your senior year. Is that true?
Yes. We were beating (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) by 21 points. They couldn't stop Chris Rainey (currently a standout running back at Florida). But they came back, and it went to … a third overtime. It was third down. We were on the 5-yard line, and Rainey comes out of the backfield wide open. Our quarterback underthrew him, though, so we kicked a field goal. St. Thomas gets the ball. They finally get down to the 1-yard line, and it's fourth down. They were down three, but it was for a national championship. So they ran their offense back out there. I'm thinking, man, we're about to give up a 21-point lead. So we adjusted, and we put the Pouncey brothers (Maurkice and Mike) in the game. We blew the play up in the backfield, and I was unblocked. Our defensive tackle knocked their guard into the running back, and he stumbled. When he stumbled, I came through free and got him. There was a picture in the newspaper the next day with me hanging onto his legs. It was one of the best high school games ever.
Did you think then that so many of you would have a chance to play at this level?
You know, it was weird. The Pouncey brothers didn't even start until their junior year. And they were one of the first ones to get scholarships offers. We figured we'd play in college. And everybody thinks they're going to the (NFL), but you don't really think it's going to happen.
Here are our weekly questions: What's playing most on your iPod right now?
I listen to music all the time. I probably listen to (rapper) Webbie the most, though.
What website do you visit most?
I'm on Twitter all the time.
Who's the most interesting person in your timeline?
Probably (cornerback Elbert Mack). Either him or (injured safety) Devin Holland. They're always saying crazy stuff.
Finally, what reality show do you never miss?
Man, I watch Cops all day long. It's on all the time. In fact, truTV might be my favorite channel. You have this show, Bait Car, Operation Repo, all that stuff. And to be honest, I'll sit there and watch that stuff all day long. Bait Car is my favorite, though.
I know that your aunt used to be a Bucs cheerleader years ago. What are some of the memories you have from those days?
I remember going out to the old One Buc Place. They used to have these family and friends days after games. They would set up tents, and all the kids would run and play, and we'd get to meet the players. I actually keep in contact with (former receiver) Reidel Anthony. My mom showed me a picture one day of him (autographing) my shirt. I was like 11 years old. I told him, "Dang, you're old!"
You were a big fan, so who was your favorite Buc back in the day?
I can't tell you just one, but I can tell you a lot of names. Oh, man. I remember (John) Lynch, Jeff Gooch, Hardy Nickerson. I met (Warren) Sapp a couple of times, Joe Jurevicius, Keyshawn (Johnson).
Could you appreciate back then how good some of those guys were? There were a few possible Hall of Famers.
You can't see that at the time. You think, well, every team has great players. But I look at it now, and it almost looks like it was stacked, man. We probably could've had another Super Bowl if it wasn't for the Rams. I hated the Rams, and I hated Green Bay.
You should be the team historian.
I'm telling you, I could be. Man, I know the Bucs.