For the regular visitors to the site you’ll already be aware of my passion for the Jets 3rd round selection of this year’s draft Demario Davis, having stated many times that I expect Demario to be a starter by week 6.
The opportunity arose for me to interview Demario, who I might add, was an utter gentleman throughout. I’m not ashamed to admit the fan in me became apparent when I stumbled on a question or two! Who wouldn’t? He was right in front of me on Skype.
During the 45 minute conversation we touched on a variety of subjects including college, his pro day, the combine, draft day, rookie camp, meeting the team before moving on to more personal questions. We'll join the conversation 4 minutes in, after we'd exchanged pleasantries. I do have to add that Demario was looking sharp in his shirt and trousers at 8am and took a genuine interest in me, by asking how I was etc, that's a moment I'll never forget.
Here is the transcript of the interview.
Shall we get straight into then?
Yeah that’s good, man.
I did some research on you last night and discovered you played running back as a youngster. First question is, were you any good and what prompted the change of position?
Well, yeah I played running back all the way up until high school football and er, yeah I was pretty good especially between pee wee and seventh grade years. But going into ninth grade my coach wanted me to play to for Varsity but he was saying if you want to be able to play you gonna have to play wide receiver because we have pretty good running backs who were Seniors and Juniors and so to get me on the field I moved to wide receiver and ended up doing pretty good there and it just kinda stuck and through High School that was kinda the position I was playing until my Senior Year and that’s when I moved to defense for the first time and I did so good there that’s when scholarships came and that’s how I ended up on defense.
Do you miss that aspect of being on the offense, that there’s more possibly glory on that side of the ball, or are you just happy doing what you’re doing?
Yeah people say there more glory to the offensive side, once you go on defense and join the dark side you never go back. (Laughter) Its fun because you get to run into people and that’s the good thing about football.
I’ve never played football, so it’s something I’ve never experienced but you’ve made it sound fun!
Yeah man you’d like it!
During your time Arkansas State you racked up some pretty impressive stats what's your favourite memory from that time?
I would say my favourite memory for Arkansas State would definitely be winning the Southwest Championship that was, the whole experience of the will to win it; it was truly a special season just seeing all of our work coming together. All the pieces fell into place; it was truly a magical moment. When we finally won the conference championship it was definitely an experience that I wouldn’t change, it was a great moment. Not just for me, but for everyone else and the community. I think when, everyone comes together and reaches a goal that they’re all trying to achieve that’s when you make a magical moment.
When that moment happens do you all appreciate it more as you’re on the same page?
Yeah you all have to be on the same page to even get to that. Champions are never gonna be a group of people that aren’t on the same page. What happens when everyone is on the same page and gets to the destination at the same time, everyone understands the struggle that it took to get there it’s an experience that when you get there you enjoy it as its magical.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the guys from the team?
Yeah, one of my good friends, Kelcie McCray is with the Miami Dolphins right now, I keep in touch with pretty much the entire class. Three of the guys were just at my wedding last weekend. I keep in touch with a lot of those guys.
I didn’t realise you got married last weekend, congratulations!
Thank you Sir, Thank you Sir, I’ve not long got back from my honeymoon.
Where did you go?
We were in the Bahamas.
Very nice, very nice.
Yeah it was a beautiful place.
Is it true that before going to the combine you recorded practice forty yard dash runs, so you could watch back and critique yourself?
Yeah man that’s true I used to do that every night, we were training with the great Mr Bowden it was just a different technique to anything I’ve ever seen before. I used to record it and do it to a point where it becomes muscle memory; I used to do it over and over practising that technique, it was kinda difficult to get but I wanted to perfect it. A friend of mine, Johnson Grimes, who is with the Houston Texans, used to record me and then I’d take it home. It was recorded on the app called Coaches Eye so I could break it down, look at it in slow motion, see what detail id got wrong, write my little notes on what id got to work on for the next day. I’d do it over and over again id practice in the hallway, at the hotel, id go out to the pool and practice running techniques and running forms. Id practice all the little stuff to make sure id got it right. I don’t think I got a lot of it perfect but I got as close to perfect as I could.
Are you somewhat of a perfectionist?
I wouldn’t say I was a perfectionist there’s just some stuff that I wanna be clear about so you can put all your effort into it. When you want something that bad you gotta put the determination and effort into it and push a bit to get it done on your own.
Moving on to the combine and your pro day, what was the experience like?
It was a great experience. A different experience, a great one, and the same with the media and everything. Its kinda more of a rush than you’d think it would be because a lot of the interviews are night to day, night to day and then the next day so you have to go out and perform in front of all these people. It was a great thing, a great experience just to see all your hard work that you put in. I had great trainers Rich Sadiv at Parisi in Fair Lawn New Jersey was great, I mean the mental aspect and having us prepare for it I mean I was so confident going in and when I got there I knew in my mind I was gonna do good. It wasn’t that I wasn’t nervous going in and then on the day I knew it was time to go, I knew I was gonna do so good that I was worried that I knew I could do good but I wouldn’t do good.
You nearly out psyched yourself?
(Laughs) Yeah, I almost did! You know, not in a personal way but in the back of your mind, that you could be one of the best performers here and not reaching it and not doing as good as you want. But it ended up being a great performance and it was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of players and you get to form a lot of relationships.
Talk us through your Draft day, where were you, what was your reaction and your family’s reaction?
We were in Deep South Mississippi in my original hometown Jonesboro that’s where my Grandmother gave birth to ten children that’s where a lot of us originate from. We were there having a barbeque, maybe 100-200 people around. I knew I was gonna be a second day or third day pick I just knew it was gonna be somewhere between late second to early fifth so were just kinda anticipating I was just praying and praying that Lord wherever you wanted me to go im gonna go and not worry about it and then we were sitting around watching I can see my Mom and my fiancée at the time and I was just getting anxious and they kept talking ‘are you gonna go to this team…’ and I was like ‘I don’t know, I don’t know’ the phone rang and I saw it was the New York Jets and my Mom she looked down as I looked down and she screamed so loud and everyone else was hollering I couldn’t really hear Woody Johnson talking I had to walk in the back cos everyone was still going crazy I talked to Woody for a quick second, Rex and Mike T and that was just an experience and im like ‘wow, its happening’! I walked out got to hug everyone, shake hands it was just the greatest feeling in the world, my Mom we finally made it. It was like after that, the phone started blowing up … reporters from New York, Arkansas, Mississippi and at the same Facebook & Twitter… I text the majority of reporters and told them id call the next day and I turned my phone off as it was vibrating so much and we enjoyed the rest of the day. We just laughed and had a good time.
Do you think coming from a small school made it tougher to get drafted?
I don’t know if it made it tougher to get drafted, I mean, being from whatever school, if your doing what your supposed to be dong, in time your gonna have the opportunity to get drafted. I don’t think being drafted in the third round and guys from small schools getting drafted in the first round, that you could say that small coming from a small school makes it tougher to get drafted but I don’t know if you’d be put on, or rated the same as a guy from a bigger school, they may say that that guys better. I’ve even heard analysts say that, had I’d been at a bigger school, I may have been a top ten pick, I mean you never know so things happen as they do, if I was a fifth round pick everyone would still be pumped, so should coulda anything you just have to take life as it happens. s for me I wouldn't change any of my experiences at Arkansas state, I think it was a great place and a great journey, I'm a true diehard Red Wolf for life, (laughter). The things that I learnt, the things I experienced at Arkansas State made me and moulded me into the man I am today, and I wouldn't trade that for anything, everyone has a different route to the their destination and the NFL. Everyone has a different story, and that's why you get the unique characters and different types of players that you have. I think the lord allows things to happen the way they do for a reason.
Will the fans get to see the same leadership skills and traits that you displayed throughout your college career?
Well I mean the coaches talk to us and they say we want you to be the same player you were in college, they drafted you for a reason, they want you to be that player, its about taking the next step forward. Its coming into a new system, one that I love, with a lot of people that I love and have come to enjoy being around and going to work with. We have one goal and that goal is to win Super Bowls. I don't think of myself as an individual, i think of myself as another man, a part of the unit, and it takes everyone to win and achieve that same goal, but everyone has to be on the same page. Its all about knowing your role and how to play, and what parts your playing in. Anytime your a new guy to a situation, you have to wait until the ball gets thrown to know exactly where you fit in. Right now they have me running certain packages, they have me learning the system and playing more and more. That's where my focus is right now, learning as much as possible, mastering the playbook, learning from the defense, mastering the techniques for the game. Its a lot more listening than it is talking, because I know these guys have been doing this long time. But at the same time I've always been a person that if the opportunity for someone to step and lead, I've always wanted it, that's just natural. I've always said at the same time you have to know how to follow before you can lead. You gotta where you've been before you know where you going. And you just have to know the history of the team, the situations that they've been in before and last year was a bad situation and we didn't quite come through, and it maybe beneficial that i wasn't part of that because I can provide an energy spark and say you know, don't think about that. It's those situations that make the best leaders. Sometimes you just have be a good follower to be a good leader, sometimes you lead from the back sometimes you lead from the front, it's something I do take pride in, but at the same it's all a timing thing as, everyone can say they've lead, but I've also followed.
You hear about pivotal moments during the season and in games when someone just steps up and Carries their team on their back and inspires them onto too greatness, do you just wait for those moments?
Yeah you just wait your time, it happens. I remember it happened a couple of times when I was a freshman, you have those moments when you just have to step and say something.
Does that feel good then, knowing that your the guy that's stepped up to the plate and you've gone 'we've gotta get this done' and they follow you, how does that feel, knowing that you've got the respect and backing of your team.
Yeah it's a good feeling once it's all over, as a motivational speech is kinda a burden,, but I mean you know you have to step and say something at that time, because if something has to be said and everyone else is waiting for it, then if you feel like it, you have to go ahead and say something, then you to back it up, once you've made that move for the team that's just the beginning of the fight as you know you have to put your team in a position to win the game, you have to step up and lead, as the talk itself won't do anything. You can have the best pre-game speech But once you go out on the field it's like what you gonna do then, as everyone has a game plan going in, but once you get hit that's when things count as you can get hit on the first play and all the hype gets knocked out of you. Once you get it a battle that's when you really have to lead, I've always been able to lead by example and I found the right time to lead and I think the lord has blessed me with the gift to say some stuff and get my team very revved up and excited about the game, and even in the worst situation, things change and once you get the field you can make the plays that will change the momentum, and it gives out excitement and once those two come together at the end of the game you just think about the actually win rather than those things that you said and what you did to lead it, you just have your guys to the accomplishment of what you all wanted. That's really what has to be what motivates you to go forward and speak it can't be that I wanna be that guy or anything like that, it has to be about the benefit of the entire organisation and that's what you have to have.
Do you have any goals for the upcoming season, for example how many sacks do you think you're going to get? (laughter) no pressure (more laughter)
I finished off making individual goals towards the end of my junior year, it's not about personal accolades. I set goals to motivate me for how I work out and for when I'm training. I set goals as in knowing the whole play book before training camp, I'm going in knowing over 80% of it but I wanna know 100% of by the end of training camp. I have goals of no more than 5 mistakes at practice then I'll push to get no more than 3 mistakes and just continually pushing myself to practice harder. I set goals on how many extra workouts I wanna do during the week, sometimes it maybe 5 and then at the back of my mind I set goals as in team goals as you gotta look at the Super Bowl and think about that, and what would it take for me to help my team win the Super Bowl, and at the back of my mind I wanna have a rookie of the year performance and so that's how I train, I'm never slacking, coming from a leverage point, you don't have third round guys getting defensive rookie of the year, so that's what it's about for me. You have to really keep pushing and training harder and harder as I know I can't have any days off, I can't take time out and that's what motivates me to keep going and to keep going. My ultimate goal is to see guys in the locker room come and experience Christ like I have, that's my ultimate goal, I'm always looking for the opportunity to talk to with guys and get to build relationships with them. You get to be in relationships where people trust you get to see the joy that you have, the piece that you in your life they kinda wanna know how you've come to that, having so much joy and piece. I have guys that Turn to me and say 'man your always smiling, your always smiling' so when you have good conversation like that, that's a chance to share the love and piece that you've come to know with Jesus Christ, that's my ultimate goal besides football, those are the things that I really feel really motivate me the best, verses say I wanna have this many tackles, this many sacks.
That brings me on nicely to rookie camp, how was camp, and also how was it finally meeting the rest of the guys?
It was fun, we were given a good camp. They gave some real hazing here and there, (laughter) but nothing to bad, i mean they were great, especially David Harris and Bart Scott they've really been helpful with linebacker rookies, helping us with the plays and teaching us little things that can save a lot of energy, not wasting movement, they've been very helpful in teaching us technics for the game outside of our position. Revis, Cromartie and Eric Smith those guys have been great, it's been good mixing and that they've helped the rookies. The rookie group man, we have a great class, we've come together, Jordan White, Antonio Allen, Quinton, Stephen, RG its a lot of fun hanging with those guys, we had a blast i mean coming to work everyday, hanging out having fun, but when its time to work we work.
It sounds like good friendships and bonds have been formed from an early stage.
Yeah we were together i think a week or two before rookie season, so we were just there for 6 hours a day with each other, we had a good time, it was kinda a laid back atmosphere, we really got the chance to know each other and anytime when you get to do that, natural relationships are going to be formed, and we really jelled together and i think that chemistry is obviously going to be beneficial. You always wanna have good relationships with team mates and i think that translates onto the field, and we have both.
You mentioned earlier the reaction of the fans via twitter etc after your draft, do you have a message for them, you know a sort of motivational speech ahead of the upcoming season?
I have a very special feeling about this season, I don't just say that I have special feeling for a reason, but i'm very in tune in God. Obviously the season we had at Arkansas State was a very special one, winning the conference there and i had a special feeling then before that season. I feel like God is trying to do some special things in New York City, I would just tell the fans we need as much support as we can get. I've see how passionate some of the fans, and those people that have been season ticket holders from the 70's and 80's and so you know when you see people like that, you know they're very passionate about the Jets. For those people, even the bandwagon fans and those jumping on, we appreciate all the support we can get as its going to be a great season and a tough season, but if we can get together and stay focused then there is no reason at the end why we can't be Super Bowl champs. It's footage begin to training camp, one day at time and into the pre-season then the season, and we'll stay focused all the way through buts it's very tough, then we will be successful and we will be Super Bowl champions, so that's the goal to be Super Bowl champs.
Just listening to what you just said made me feel proud (laughter) great stuff I'm ready to go myself.
This concludes the first part of the interview with Demario. In the the second part I asked Demario a few personal questions, and about the comparisons made between himself and Ray Lewis. Click here for the second part.
Please follow and send some love and comments to Demario on twitter @youarefree146 and myself via the the websites twitter account @nyjoverthepond and visit us again at www.nyjetsoverthepond.com and also a huge thank you to Erik Manassy ( @e_man ) for the use of Demario's twitter avatar.