Tell us a little about yourself… where did you grow up, what drew you to play football, who did you look up to as a kid (in sports and in life in general)?
I was born and raised in, which at the time was the most dangerous city in the country, Camden New Jersey. We didn’t have much but we had our close friends and family. If you weren’t careful, you could easily become and negative product of that environment. Being the first born with no one to really look up to, I looked up to the older guys in the neighborhood. They all played sports all day when ever they weren’t in school. Naturally, I followed suit. A game called “throwback” was my first form of football that I was introduced to. In that game you had to make everyone miss in order to score. Being the smallest one, I had to work really hard to make everyone miss or outrun them. When I got good at beating the older guys, my love for the sport naturally grew. By the time I reached high school, I was lucky enough to move across county to Poway California where I became a star athlete in that school for the next 3 years. I was fortunate to live in the same city as Hall of Fame Running Back, Ladainian Tomlinson and therefore have the opportunity to know him on a personal level and gain great advice from him while playing in my high school days.
What position did you play growing up?
Learning to make everyone miss or outrun everyone in “throwback” was a lot of hard work growing up. I didn’t know much about the position but Running Back became my natural position.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?… In sports
If I could have done it all over again, I would have forced my parents to get me involved in organized sports at a much younger age. I would have excelled that much more and more than likely received more and better college scholarships that I already received.
You attended San Diego State University as a football player. Did you receive a scholarship and what advise would you give our young athletes looking to achieve the same goal?
I was lucky enough to get quality coaching and mentoring through the community in Poway. That laid a path for my to be recruited and gain athletic as well as academic scholarships. Of the serval scholarships that were offered to me, I chose San Diego State. I came to that decision after careful consideration as to which school would not only be best for me athletically, but also academically. The ability to excel at sports does not last forever, we have to set ourselves up for success academically in order to succeed in life after sports. For those of you looking to achieve the same goal, get yourselves involved in a program now. The sooner the better.
Did you have the opportunity to play in the NFL?
After my college career ended, in 2011 I was lucky enough to sign a 3 year contract with the San Diego Chargers to play Running Back. Though I finally made it to the sports highest level, my career ended just shortly after joining the team. Several weeks into my first season, I had a helmet to helmet collision that herniated 3 disks in my neck… ending my career.
What did you learn from the experience playing at the highest level?
I learned a lot from that experience. Most of all I learned to be better prepared for my next opportunity. I was not as physically or mentally prepared for the next chapter in my life as I should have been. If only I had a program to rely on before that point. Luckily I took advantage of my academics in college and was able pursue many other business ventures.
What is your mission in working with NFL Leagues United?
My mission with in working with NFLLU is to help be to these young athletes what I longed for my entire athletic/academic career… an example and mentor who had been down the same path I was hoping to follow. I was lucky enough to have some guidance along the way but I needed that consistency. NFLLU has the consistency young athletes need in order to be successful in all aspects of life.
What would you like to tell the parents and kids within your region about your program and why they should choose NFLLU?
If you want your child to be put in the position to not only be successful athletically but also academically, put them in a program with individuals who have already paved the way. Learning from current and former student athletes and NFL players at an early age can only set athletics up for success on maybe phases.
Same question we gave to Mira Mesa Site Director Dey Jaun Hemings… who do you have in the Super Bowl this year?
I’m an eagles fan. I see my eagles upsetting Dallas on the road to the super bowl.