Khalil Mack, Buffalo, Sr.
On his jersey number matching the initial player rating he received in an NCAA video game: “The first one that came out I was only rated a 46 overall with a 37 rating for speed, and it was a slap in the face man. Because, I knew deep down in my heart I was better than a 46. And, it just so happened, I was already No. 46 and I kept the number.” And on his rating last year?: “80-something.”
On keeping his competitive fire now that he’s getting attention: “I want to be the best. I don’t know who all you guys talk to, but in anything - my dad always taught me, man — he told me you want to be the best at anything and everything that you do. And, I strive to be the best at anything I do — whether it was raking the leaves growing up, or whether it was playing tic tac-toe with my brothers, whether it was kicking the ball in the dirt with a can on the ground and you had to kick the can - we did stupid things but we wanted to be the best at it, and that’s the reason I am so competitive.”
C.J. Mosley, Alabama, Sr.
Mosley, in a recent interview with USA TODAY told Jim Corbett: “I’m a little outside my comfort zone talking about myself. My game film speaks for me.”
Nick Saban, his former coach at Alabama, told USA TODAY’s Corbett: “If people evaluate C.J. as a football player — how fast you play; how athletic you are; how instinctive you are and how many plays you make — I would challenge anybody to show me 10 better players.”
Anthony Barr, UCLA, Sr.
On his transition from offense to defense: “The transition was pretty smooth, honestly. Difficult at first. I think moving backwards, going back in coverage, was something that was new to me. But now I feel comfortable with that. Just sort of getting used to the position. It’s still sort of new to me in a sense. It’s exciting. If I continue to work, the sky’s the limit.”
On if defense better fits his personality: “I’m a pretty aggressive person, especially when it comes to competing. I think (defense) gives me a little outlet.” And on what he wants to improve: “Shedding blocks, defending the run, using my hands. I think those things are still new to me, things I’m still work on. If I continue to work on it, I think I’ll be able to perfect those.”
Chris Borland, Wisconsin, Sr.
On being 5-foot-11 and drawing inspiration from “short” LBs: “There’s a lot of guys that have gotten it done at a high level being under 6 feet. You mentioned London Fletcher, he’s a guy I watched. Zach Thomas, Chris Spielman is about 6 feet. A lot of guys have played very well at that size and they kind of paved the way for guys like me.”
On his intensity: “Football’s extremely important to me, it’s my passion. I put everything into it, and I think that’s more valuable than a half inch or an inch (of height).”
Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, Jr.
On declaring for the draft after his junior: “I talked it over with the coaches and my parents. I weighed the pros and cons and decided this was the best time to come out. I don’t have any serious injuries. I feel I had a successful season. I feel that if I want to become a great player and play with the best, I have to play against the best.On the advice he received from his father, who is team chaplain of the Miami Dolphins: “He just said always work hard, treat people the way you want to be treated and always be disciplined enough to try to make yourself better because if you can’t beat yourself you can’t beat the person across from you.”