Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports




What kind of impression did you get about the 49ers organization when you came out here to visit?

"Man, greatness. Greatness, man. I'm trying to be the great, the next [former 49ers LB] Patrick Willis, the next great linebacker in their history."

Did you get a chance to meet LB NaVorro Bowman and what do you think about the prospects of lining up next to him?

"It'll be great, man. I'm going to learn from a great vet and just pick his brain and just be able to come in and make a big impact. Just working hard, man. Just really showing them what I'm capable of and just showing my passion for the sport for real."

How surprised are you to still be there at number 31 when the Niners take you?

"I was surprised, man. I was very surprised. I thought I wasn't going to make it. I thought I wasn't going to make it, but I'm just happy that they just believed in me and just trusted in me and to pick me and just give me a chance."



Do you have kind of a chip on your shoulder knowing that you fell so far being the top-10 talent?

"Man, it's like I always said man, turn a negative into a positive. I've got to prove, just prove my fact. I've got to just prove my passion for the sport. I've got a chip on my shoulder, true yeah. I've got things to prove, big things to prove."

What do you have to prove?

"You know, like people think about the character off the field and everything, but I've just got to show 'em like, how serious I take my job."

What is it about Patrick Willis as a player that you admire?

"His passion about the sport. His aggressiveness. His leadership role. He's got the passion for the sport that I want to be. Like, I want to have that passion up there for the 49ers. Like, I want to be that next Patrick Willis, where people are saying being that next Reuben Foster."

How much do you know about DL Solomon Thomas, your new teammate? Seems like you guys are going to be the centerpiece of this rebuild.

"I'm about to get real acquainted with him. I don't know him as well, but I'm about to get real acquainted with him. We're going to be best friends, trust me."

What's the status of the shoulder?

"It's 90-percent. I'll be ready for training camp."

Do you think concerns about the shoulder explain part of the reason why you slid down to 31?

"I don't know. I don't care. It's a blessing that they just picked me period up in this position I am in."

What do you think of general manager John Lynch when you came out here?

"Oh, John Lynch is a great guy. He's a great guy. Real. Real. He gives it to you straight. He's a defensive guy, so we've got to bond together. So, we've got an automatic bond. He's a defensive guy. That itself means a lot, because he's so loved. He's like a family. He's loved. He's humble. I could tell he was interested in me when he saw me on the visit by myself."

Did you guys have a chance to bond?

"Yeah, we had a chance to bond. He just told me the passion he had for the sport. We share the same passion."

You had the incident at the combine where you were sent home and then you had a diluted sample. Do you think there were also concerns about off the field issues?

"Yeah, of course. People were concerned about the diluted sample. People were concerned about me just getting kicked out of the combine. But, they gave me a chance. They gave me a chance and I really appreciate the 49ers. I'm just ready to go hard and work hard and just prove that I'm worthy of that spot and they're not going to regret it."

You play a position obviously prone to having to be a leader. How would you describe your leadership style? What will you bring to the Niners in that regard?

"I bring the passion. I bring a fire to the team like no other. I give people love and respect. The player next to me are going to want to play with the passion I play. You show by example. You show by leadership. You show by vocals. I'm all of the above. If I feel like I've got to show by vocal, I'll show by vocal. If I feel like I've got to show by example, I'll show by example, which I'm always up to by leading by example. I just feel like I can just bring a lot for this defense a lot."

You said you bring a passion and fire like no other. Where does that come from?

"Just me playing football. Football is my specialty. Football is my domain. Football is my mind. Football is my home. So, I show passion like no other because it's my home. If I didn't have football, I'd have nothing but my family."

I'm not sure how much you've watched this 49ers team this past season, but they gave up the second to worst yards per game in the league. How are you going to approach suring up the middle of the field at that linebacking position?

"Stuff that hole."

Can you elaborate on that a little more?

"Stuff the hole. Take on my blocks. Do my assignments. Find my alignment."

How familiar are you with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's defensive scheme?

"If it's similar to [Alabama head] coach [Nick] Saban's defensive scheme, it should be easy. Just different terminology."

Have you gotten any indication of where you might line up in the defense?

"Wherever Patrick Willis lined up, I guess."

You seem to reference Patrick a lot. Is that someone who you say you've modeled your game after?

"Yeah. Patrick Willis and [former Baltimore Ravens LB] Ray Lewis."

If you had to describe your game in one word, what would it be? Because you're a pretty violent hitter and when you hit that open field, you have no fear whatsoever. How would describe your game in one word if someone's asking?

"Savage."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers