We're always very appreciative when a draft prospect takes the time out of their schedule to answer some questions for us here at Gang Green Nation, so first of all a massive thank you to Marquette for doing this. I know we have several more lined up to follow this and the one earlier this month with Marvin McNutt.
It really does seem like a great time to post this up. Earlier today in the "Stay or Go" series that John runs every year, we asked you guys if current Jets punter T.J Conley should be brought back in 2012 or should be let go. A whopping 89% of you have already voted to go so logic would attest that we need a replacement.
First of all I would like you guys to watch the following videos of Marquette and then join us after the jump for the interview:
*First of all, what are you doing at the moment to prepare for the NFL draft and life as a professional punter?
I am continuing to workout and I also communicate with people that have been where I am trying to go. By doing that they are preparing me mentally for the professional business world.
*When you are watching the NFL which punters do you enjoy watching and who would you like to Play like at the next level?
Pat McAfee, Thomas Morstead, and Shane Lechler are the ones that I enjoy watching. They have very powerful legs and hit great punts. I watch other punters and pay close attention to their form and technique, but I just focus on what works for me. As I got more into punting, doing the research and watching game film I came to the conclusion that all punters have different styles.
*How difficult is it getting recognition by pro level scouts coming from a smaller school like Fort Valley State?
I have been brought up on the saying that "Hard work pays off". This saying is so true. When I was a freshman and sophomore in college I worried about that a little, but my parents would stay on me about working hard no matter where I go to school at. If it is meant to be then it will happen. Long Hot summer practices by myself in 100+ degree Georgia heat until I was happy with myself, Freezing cold practices where the next day I was sick as a dog. I think it paid off in the games.
* Am I right in saying you were also recruited as a wide receiver, what made you decide to concentrate on punting?
Yes, I was brought in as a wide receiver. I was pretty good but when my coaches saw that I was good with punting they put me in that position and told me that is the only way I would keep my scholarship.
*What's your longest punt, through the air and with the bounce?
My longest punt in the air is 76 yards against Clark Atlanta, and my longest punt with roll is 80 yards with 10 yards of roll in Bethune Cookman.
*What was it like being asked to attend the Kohl's kicking camp in Wisconsin? And how much did that help you develop your game?
It felt great going in the coaches office knowing that he had a letter for me inviting me to work with one of the best Kicking camps in the nation with other Division 1 punters and kickers. I was smiling the whole day with that letter in my hand. It helped my mental part of my game more than anything. It was great talent from all of those schools, but it showed me that they are no different than I am. The only difference is the name of the school. Later Kohl's would help me with the parts of my punting that would help me develop into a better punter especially my technique.
*You have just finished a fantastic senior season and your punts have been timed with a 5.6 hang time, what's your average hang time at the moment?
As of right now my average hangtime is 4.8. It depends on where I am on the field.
*At the HBCU bowl a lot of people came away extremely impressed with your ability to pin the ball inside the 10 yard line, how did it feel to put together such a great performance?
It felt great all of that hard work was paying off.
*What was it like punting in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in California?
It was an amazing experience. I never thought I would ever see California in person, and at that being asked to play in a game organized by the NFL Players association. They treated us like Kings. I had so much fun playing with the guys from the big schools. I was so amped when I touched the field for punt team. God has really blessed me.
* People know about the big leg, but do you want people to recognize you as a good situational punter as well as a distance punter?
Yes. being able to set your team up in the best position is a great feeling and being able to send a bomb punt every once in a while is the icing on the cake.
* I heard that during some practices you have been known to punt over 100 balls a day, would be correct to say you are a perfectionist?
I wouldn't say im a perfectionist, but I set a number and when I get to that number I would set 4 balls aside and I wouldn't stop punting until all four punts are consistent with spirals and decent hangtime. Always end on a good note.
* From everything I read your known as a humble, high character guy. How important is it to show teams that you a a good guy and a coachable player as well as a talented player?
God has blessed me with a talent that I really enjoy I have no choice but to be humble and have fun with my talent. It is very important to be coachable. If your not coachable that can hurt the team.
*Lastly, this is a Jets website, most Jets fans want to see a new punter in Green next year. How would you feel about playing in New York?
Where ever God puts me this season I will set my team up in the best position possible.
Now I would just like to thank Marquette again for taking the time to answer and for providing some great answers in there as well. I've spoken to a few draft analysts in relation to Marquette and not one of them has come back to me with anything but positive things about Marquette as a person and as a player.
When you play at Fort Valley you are never going to get the national attention regardless of how well you perform. That's just the facts right there. However Marquette is a punter that looks like a safety. He has excellent form on his kicks, a great technique. He has high aspirations and great drive.
He has the power but also the accuracy and let me just say that if someone does break a long return off a punt, they don't have a punter to beat which in most cases doesn't mean anything, they have a physical guy back there.
Mocking The Draft did a profile on Marquette a little while ago, where they actually managed to talk to some scouts who were more than impressed with his constant 60-70 yard punts with 5.2+ hang time.
I wish Marquette nothing but the best at the next level regardless of where he lands. However if he is a Jet come the fall, I will be absolutely delighted.