Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Texas A&M-Commerce's Vernon Johnson Q&A

Pro Player Insiders caught up with the two-time Lonestar wide receiver of the year, Vernon Johnson, out of Texas A&M-Commerce for an exclusive interview during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  Here’s our exclusive story.

Goals outside of playing football:

I want to become a successful businessman and to be able to support my family. I want to make smart investments. I like reading about stocks and people like Warren Buffett because of what they’re able to do with their life by multiplying their money. I’m a strong believer in the theory that your money should make you money.

Favorite Food:

My nutritionist is going to kill me for saying this. She says I can have a 20% risk if I eat good 80% of the time. In my 20% of the time, I like to eat bacon cheese burgers. I like to go to San Diego and get carne asada fries with guacamole, and put sour cream and cheese on it.


Red, because it sticks out.


To relax me, I listen to 90’s R&B. There are some games that I listen to Chakka Khan or Earth Wind and Fire to get me ready for the game. I like listening to weird stuff.

Favorite place to visit:

San Diego, of course.

On playing in NFLPA bowl:

I’ve read about it, and just from my experience here, I can tell you that it’s very helpful. It’s not just about the football field. They get you ready for the rookie year, your whole life, finances, talk to you about women; all that stuff. They know everything and they are here for you.

Skills that he’s working on improving to be better on the next level:

Being more patient in and out of cuts, and also being more patient with my routes. I’m a very fast guy so I always think “go go go” and there are some routes where I don’t need to always “go go go”. Just need to know my route tree better, just focusing on that.

Player that he emulates:

Probably Mike Wallace or Desean Jackson. Those are guys that can stretch the field. I like to take the top off of the defense.

Top priority to get ready for the scouting combine:

I just need to work on my technique. I’m already pretty athletic, there’s a lot of technique in getting stronger in your ankles for whenever you’re going to do your verticals. You have to have your ankles steady for the 40 time. A lot of that stuff, people don’t think about it, it makes a big difference in your 40; arm drive, leg drive are some of the stuff that I’ve been learning here. It has already helped out a lot so I just want to keep getting better and to just become a better player.

Favorite part of college:

Likely the freedom, being able to become a man. You’re not under your mom’s wing all of the time. You get those growing pains because you spend all of your money on fast food, when it comes to Saturday and Sunday, you have to eat Ramen Noodles. I’ve learned that lesson about not eating bacon cheeseburgers all of the time. You can order from the dollar menu or get some bread and make the money last.

Life lessons learned while attending college:

Everything happens for a reason. I’m a strong believer in that. I feel that God has everything planned out. I’ve been through situations where I know I shouldn’t be here. I’ve seen a lot of things happen to people that they feel that shouldn’t happen but if it’s in God’s plan, then it’s meant to be. I strongly believe that. That’s one thing I’ve learned going through college, is if it’s meant to be, then it’s going to happen.

Favorite active NFL player:

I like Antonio Brown. He’s a low-key player, not too flashy. A lot of people think that he’s underrated. He’s just a great player, maybe a smaller guy but he does great for his team.

Favorite Player of all time:

Probably Barry Sanders

Dream Car:

The funny thing is even if I had money for my dream car, I probably wouldn’t buy it because it’s not about material things. You have to be able to manage your money right. If I had to name one, it would probably be a Lamborghini, but if I had $100 million, I probably still wouldn’t buy it.

Favorite TV Show:


Favorite Movie:

I have three actually. They are Friday, Lords of Dogtown, and Friday Night Lights… duh.

What he dislikes most out of society:

Just everybody being judgmental and not giving others a fair chance at life. There are a lot of people that get looked at on the outside, but it’s about what is on the inside. People might look at me, I’m covered in tattoos and they might think I’m a criminal or something. When in reality, I’m probably the nicest person in the world. I want to get people to understand that you have to talk to people and see where they’re coming from because a lot of people don’t think the same way. If you just look at somebody and judge them by their cover, you’re not going to get anywhere in life, only be a judgmental and crude person.

Lasting impression:

I feel like everybody is put on earth to help somebody in some type of way. If you live your life like that and make an impact on somebody’s life, I think you are doing your job on earth. There are people that think they are here to just live and worry about themselves but it’s not about that at the end of the day, it’s about going out and helping other people. Here at the NFLPA game, it’s what they’re doing for us. They’re going out and helping us. I love that.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

National Defeats American 17-0 in 2015 NFLPA Bowl

You often hear that it’s good defense that wins championships. The same can be said for the 2015 NFLPA Bowl game as the National team, coached by Mike Martz, put the clamps on Mike Holgrem’s American squad and shut them out. Terrell Watson, who rushed nine times for 55 yards, was named MVP of the game. 

National received the opening kick of the game and methodically drove 80 yards down the field in 12 plays. The key play was of the drive was UTEP QB Jamieill Showers scrambling 19 yards on 3rd and 6 from the American 47 yard line. FB Channing Fugate, of Eastern Kentucky, fumbled a handoff from the 2 yard line but luckily his teammate Terrell Watson, running back from Azusa Pacific, scooped it up and took it across the goal line for the touchdown

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The American team had issues trying to move the ball; merely picking up one first down on each of the first two possessions. The National defense, coached by Ron Meeks, proceeded to force the American side to three consecutive three and outs. 

“We spent a lot of time this week talking to them about fundamentals and technique specific to corner play, safeties, linebackers – all those things.” said coach Martz, “Ron Meeks and his staff did an exceptional job.” 

The American were held to 178 total yards in the game.

Overall it was pretty much a hapless football game in the first half.

On the National’s 4th drive, Miami (OH) QB Andrew Hendrix picked up a first down on 4th and 1 with a QB sneak for 2 yds.  Toledo kicker Jeremiah Detmer then kicked a 33yd fg to make it a 10-0 score.

The National’s first 2nd half possession was much like their first possession of the game, in that they easily moved the ball down the field and scored. Brandon Bridge went 3 for 3 passing with 40 yards. Channing Fugate atoned for his earlier fumble by punching it in with a 1 yard run.

The highlight of the game came on the subsequent American possession when Syracuse RB Prince-Tyson Gulley caught a screen pass and ran towards the left sideline and was met by crushing hit from Southern Mississipi’s DB Emmanuel Johnson.

“It’s just football,” stated Johnson. “Looking at my assignment, let my player come to me, and then you know… it eventually came to me. It feels good man. I was kind of doing some of that this week during practice and my coaches were getting on me for coming up so fast. They said ‘You can do that during the game.’ And when game time came. I just let it loose. ‘Practice how we play.’ That was our motto, and that’s what we did today.”

Syracuse RB Prince-Tyson Gulley Q&A

The 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl took place Saturday at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.  After the American team practice earlier in the week, Pro Player Insiders caught up with Prince-Tyson Gulley. Gulley is a 5’9 running back from Syracuse University who ran for 1,063 yards in last two years, but his talents include being a dynamic kick returner on special teams. Lets find out some more about Prince-Tyson Gulley.

Prince-Tyson GULLEY 350

Goals outside of playing football:

Whenever I’m done playing, I want to be a coach, whether high school or college. I love the game. I’ve been playing for a long time. After I’m done playing, I wanna give the knowledge that I’ve gained to the generation after me.

Favorite Food:

I’d have to say pizza. Everybody likes pizza. I love pizza.

Music that gets him ready for the game:

I listen to Young Jeezy. Favorite song by him is “Who Dat?”

Favorite place to visit:

I’d love to go back to New Orleans. When I went there, it was a good time.

On playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:

I feel like I need to get myself some more exposure. I don’t feel that I was able to show what I can actually do during my career at Syracuse. I believe this is the perfect place for me to showcase myself and play around some players of the highest D-1 talent and get my name out there.

The amount of time it took to grow his dreadlocks:

Five years.

Skills that he’s working on improving to be better on the next level:

I feel that I already have the skills capable. One thing I just need to work on is narrow the focus in everything I do and I’ll be able to succeed.

Top priority to be more attractive at the NFL Combine:

Show them that I can do everything. My coaches told me that it is “block, catch, run” in that order. So I have to show them that I can block first, catch after that, and then run the ball as well. That would make me more viable.

Favorite part of college:

Just the network. Syracuse is a great school. There is a lot of good people there. I met some people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to if I didn’t go. There’s a lot of good people at Syracuse.

Life lessons learned while attending college:

I went through a lot of stuff when I was there. I’ve been stabbed six times. I’ve broken my collarbone doing some foolish things. Syracuse is definitely where I’ve grown up at. So I’ve learned many things.

Take away from being stabbed:

You can’t take life for granted. I had some life threatening wounds. Umm, you just can’t take anything for granted. You have to live . . . every day.

Favorite active NFL player:

Right now? It’s funny because he just came out, I’m actually watching Devonta Freeman right now. I like him.

Favorite Movie:

Dead Presidents

TV Show:

It’s a new show that came out on Netflix called Marco Polo, it’s about the early Chinese. I like stuff like that.

Favorite Player of all time:

Barry Sanders. He’s someone I try to mirror myself after as far as running style. It’s not easy but I try hard. He was so shifty.

What he dislikes most out of society:

I’m not a trendy person. I feel like my values are more self-righteous. It’s all mental with me, so I don’t really care about certain things that everyone else does. A lot of stuff doesn’t really matter to me.

Lasting impression:

I want to be remembered as somebody that persevered. Everyone has a story. I have a story. It was a setback but I never made that an excuse for why I should stop. I’ve always made that the reason that I should keep going. Some people just do the opposite.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Prairie View A&M Jerry Lovelocke Q&A

The 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be played on January 17 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California and will air live on ESPN2. After Wednesday's American team practice, Pro Player Insiders caught up with quarterback Jerry Lovelocke from Prairie View A&M. Lovelocke passed for 2,473 yards and 26 total Touchdowns (10 rushing) in the 2014 season. Read on to find out a little more about Jerry Lovelocke.

Goals outside of football:
I actually want to open back up a restaurant for my grandmother. My family is from the islands. My grandmother used to own this Jamaican restaurant. (A break in the interview occurs as I inform him that I’m also of Jamaican, and he’s now my favorite player.)

On playing in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl:
I knew it would be a great opportunity for me and gives me a chance to play on the next level.

Some Favorites:
Food – Oxtail and Curry goat. Yes sir, I can cook.
Color – Blue
Place to visit – This is my first time on the west coast. I love it here.

Skills that he’s working on improving to be better on the next level:
My vision and of course being under center because I haven’t done it in the last couple of years since high school. That would be one of the main things I have to work on.

Life lessons learned while attending college:
Take every moment seriously. Don’t ever think it’s a game and take nothing for granted.

More Faves:
Movie – The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, it's a mystery to the whole movie. I actually watched it three times straight to actually understand it. People mistook him for an old man when he was really a child in a grown man's body. He had a child's mind so there was a lot of things he knew he wasn't supposed to do even though he was allowed to. He stayed within his mental confinements and didn't leisure himself... 

[I asked if there were any similarities between him the main character of the movie] 
I traveled a lot when I was young. I was born and raised in East Orange New Jersey then I moved to Maryland, and throughout my time living in Maryland I played basketball so I did a lot of travelling via AAU-wise. In football when I started my college tour, I traveled a lot of places because I never wanted to stay in-state for school.

Favorite active player:
Peyton Manning, he's the best to me actually. He's a wonderful guy and he's the prototypical quarterback, everybody knows that, and I've watched him since I was young. I pattern myself after him.

Player all-time:
My favorite player of all time? I have to say Michael Jordan man, he's the greatest in basketball, but football wise my favorite of all time is Donovan Mcnabb.

Favorite team:
Ravens, gotta stick with them.

What he can change about the world if he could:
Right now, I would change the stereotypes man. People put labels on folks before they get to know them. Just from simple things of seeing them, of course we had the big racial issue in the past where your complexion would get you put in that stereotype before you even opened your mouth to see if you were knowledgeable. . .

Importance of athletes using the platform they have to address social issues:
Some people say that athletes should have no part in social commentary.

Do you agree with that? 
No cause athletes are still apart of society whether they wanna say we are or not. We live in the same world as everyone else. Just because we are looked at in a different light and put on a different stage or platform from everyone else, we're still people.

Lasting impression
I want people to remember me as the positive person that I am. Always with a smile on my face. Always trying to encourage someone to do better. Always seeing the glass half full instead of half empty.

Jerry Lovelocke certainly has the confidence to play the quarterback position in the NFL.

Duke Left Tackle Takoby Cofield Q&A

Takoby Coefield     

Pro Player Insiders caught up with Takoby Cofield, a 6-4, 305-pound native of Tarboro, North Carolina as he prepared for the 2015 NFLPA Bowl. Cofield was a three-year starter at Left Tackle for Duke University and 3rd team All ACC honors in 2014. Find out more about Takoby Cofield.

Goals outside of football:

I want to continue my education and get certified to teach high school history. And once I’m done playing football, coach high school football. . . I love children. I had a whole lot of great high school coaches, people that came along the way around high school to help me to where I’ve gotten right now.  I just feel like I can do that for other kids based on the experiences I’ve been through.

On playing in NFLPA bowl:

It was a great opportunity that was presented to me. I felt like there would be a lot of great talent here. The people that are organizing the bowl, the NFLPA, obviously do a great job with personnel and different people around the league. They’re always advocating for their players. It’s a wonderful opportunity.

What’s on his bucket list:

I’ll probably say traveling the world. I haven’t been to lot of places. This is my first time in California. I just want to get out and see different places. I heard that Dubai is a very nice place with wonderful hotels, I wouldn’t mind paying them a visit… that would be on the top of my list.


Food – Anything Italian. I can cook.

Color – Blue

Music to get hyped up for the game  

I started off with gospel, something that is inspirational. As we get closer to the game, then rap. I listen to R&B and Neo-soul to relax me.

Skills that he’s working on improving to be better on the next level:

My consistency with my hand placement as far as hitting my land marks all the time, pad level, and my overall strength.

Life lessons learned while attending college:

Be accountable for everything you do. Every decision you make always has a consequence, and realize that consequence can effect somebody so be respectful of that person that it could effect.

Favorite part of college:

The camaraderie of my locker room, the administrators, the coaches, and everyone else that was a part of that institution.

 Favorite Movie 

I gotta go with Friday. (I made him re-enact a scene) **In Craig’s dad’s voice**  “When I’m in the kitchen, you in the kitchen. . . eating up all the pig’s feet, all the collard greens. I like pig’s feet.” [laughter ensues] That’s my favorite line!

Favorite active player  

Duane Brown from the Houston Texans because we have similar measurables . . . He’s a dominant player and has been one for a long time. That’s who I pattern myself after.

Player all-time  

Ray Lewis because of his intensity and love for the game, he’s always bringing the passion, no matter what.

What he dislikes most out of society:

Everybody has to fit into a box. Everybody has to fit into a category. That nobody can just be their own person and be their own way. People are afraid to go off and do things that aren’t necessarily the norm, or aren’t necessarily accepted by everyone else. I always tell people to not be afraid of being different.

Lasting impression:

That every person that came across me, I would have had an impact on their life positively.

Note: I’ll say this much, this conversation with Takoby certainly impacted me in a positive way. He was very respectful towards me and his answers seemed very honest.