Opening Comments: I can’t tell you all how grateful I am for the opportunity, how happy I am for myself and my family. The couple hours I’ve been here, I’ve met some great people. I can tell this town is passionate about their Bills and I’m looking forward to making their time a little more easier and helping this franchise get the ball rolling with this new coaching staff. I’m looking forward to coming in and earning all my stripes and earning the respect of the vets and of the guys that are here. I’m just looking forward to it and appreciate you guys coming in.
Q: What have the coaches been telling you about your role?
A: I just feel I can bring some depth to this secondary. We already have some great players, some players that I’ve watched for some time in Micah Hyde – I watched him when he was in Green Bay. I’ve watched a lot of (Ronald) Darby when I was in college and he was at Florida State. He was another guy. And then we have Jordan Poyer here too. There’s definitely some guys that I’ve watched at LSU and I’m looking forward to just coming in and adding to the great players that we already have.
Q: You stayed an extra year in college to kind of set an example for your family. What’s it like to have them here today?
A: It means a lot. We’ve been through a lot of trials and we’ve been through a lot. So just to have them there last night just to share that fabulous moment, it means the world to me and is something that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Q: You talked about staying that fourth year at LSU and getting that degree. From a football perspective, you also said it really helped you. Do you think if you came out last year you would have been a first round pick?
A: If I would have come out last year, I believe I would have went in the first round but I wasn’t necessarily concerned about it because I knew that God had a plan for me and this was my plan right here all along. I wanted to become a more complete player and I wanted to mature as a person. I knew last year as a 20-21 year old that I wasn’t ready for the lifestyle of an NFL player. I wasn’t going to be able to balance the two, so I needed that extra year to just enjoy myself with my friends and just maturing as a player and also as a player and then get the opportunity to get my college degree – that was something that I’ve always wanted to do. And also, my time at LSU, I hadn’t accomplished everything I wanted. I wanted to be a first-team All-ACC, I wanted to be first-team All-American, I wanted to win a Thorpe (Jim Thorpe award is given to the nation’s best defensive back annually) and I wanted to win a national championship. I was able to achieve most of my goals and I feel like now I left a great standing there.
Q: With LSU being known as ‘DB U,’ what kind of relationship do you have with some of the former players there who are now in the NFL?
A: The thing about playing defensive back at LSU is it’s like a brotherhood, it’s like a fraternity. The guys like Patrick (Peterson) and Tyrann (Mathieu) and Craig Steltz and Ryan Clark and Eric Reid. I can go on and on. You have guys that genuinely care about their room, that care about the young guys in the room. Whenever you have that, it just motivates you more to do great things on the field and off the field because whatever you do, those older guys are watching and they’ll call me back and the want to know how those LSU ‘DB U’ guys are doing.
Q: Do you go by anything other than Tre’Davious?
A: When I got to LSU, they shortened it down to Tre. But when I was growing up, I was known as Baby Shaq. My dad, everybody thinks that he looks like Shaquille O’Neal, so look at him (points to him). So they called my Baby Shaq, so that was that deal.
Q: Sean McDermott is known to be a defensive coach. What are your initial impressions of him?
A: It was a great meeting with him today. He took me to the side for like five to ten minutes and we were able to talk it up all about football. You can tell he’s very passionate about defense and that’s what I want. I have an opportunity of a lifetime here and I’m coming from a program that’s very defensive minded also at LSU so I can kind of relate to him.
Q: Does it mean something a little more special to be his first-ever pick? Is there extra pressure?
A: It’s all football I feel but I’m very humbled by that, for him to put the trust in me to be one of the first building-blocks to turn this thing around, it’s something that I’m not going to take lightly and I’m going to try to do it with pride.
Q: What challenge do you think you and the DB core might face given that you’re all relatively new?
A: I feel if we come in and communicate well and get in the scheme and we all become familiar with it, I feel like we’ll be fine because I know what type of players they are because I’ve been watching them for years now. I’ll come in and just be willing to learn from them and be able to take all their advice, I’ll be fine and we’ll be fine as a group.
Q: Do you plan on doing something with your sport administration degree when your career is over?
A: Most definitely. I feel that my calling is to go back to Shreveport, Louisiana and become the head coach of my high school’s football team. I feel that I’ll be able to motivate and inspire kids that way and also I can go to the administrative side of it if I want to become an athletic director or something like that.
Q: If you had to break down your game, what are your strengths and what maybe did the scouts – there were some corners taken ahead of you.
A: I just feel like my versatility is above all. I was a guy to shadow number one receivers at LSU the last two years if need be and also, I play inside and outside. My junior year, we had a defensive coordinator in Kevin Steele that had a package for me to play safety. So my versatility and my ability to move around in the defensive backfield is definitely an asset. Just going back off what you said though, I feel like me as a player, I’m a competitor and I love to compete. I feel like I definitely have to work on being a more sound tackler. That’s definitely something I have to work on and I’m my own worst critic at it, so there’s nothing anybody can say to me or tell my about myself that’s going to shake me because I already pretty much know.
Q: Technically, willingness, what do you think it is?
A: Honestly, it’s never been a not want to with me, it’s never been I’m scared to go up and hit. It’s always been about, it’s a technical thing and being consistent and doing it.
Q: You once shared a bed with your brother and now you’re in the NFL. Any plans on what you’re going to do?
A: Well, we plan on doing some things. I feel like now that I’m in a spot and in a position to do that, I feel like I owe that to my family just because of everything we’ve been through together. There’s definitely going to be some changes and we’re definitely not going to be sharing a bed anytime soon.
Q: Did you have two or three defensive coordinators at LSU?
A: I had three in the last three years – John Chavis my first two years, and then Kevin Steele, and David Aranda this year.
Q: So you’re used to being able to adapt. What do you think that has kind of taught you?
A: It’s just how to respond to adversity and how to respond when that sudden change comes because in the football game, we were about to score and we come down and our quarterback – or we have a fumble or an interception occurs – the defense has got to go on the field for that sudden change. But it’s all about life. It relates to life – how we responded when Coach [Les] Miles got fired and Coach [Ed] Orgeron took over. We responded great. It’s all about how you respond to things; it’s all about your reaction to it.
Q: You’ve referred to trials and tribulations a few times here. Can you give us a sense of what’s in your mind when you’re saying that? What are some of the lowest lows you’ve experienced?
A: I would say it’s a lot of them but probably my junior year in high school: my mom wasn’t there to watch me play my whole junior year and that’s the year where I took that next step as a player. I was able to go out – they tried me at cornerback and I was able to play cornerback and I got recruited. I started getting recruited and LSU offered me a scholarship and that was a big deal. My mom wasn’t there to cherish that moment with me, so I waited. I wanted to commit on the spot but my mom wasn’t there so I waited and waited. Once I got home, I said ‘yeah, we’re going to do this this time, we’re going to do it the right way.’ I had all of my family there and I wanted her to be able to share that experience with me and she was there when I committed to LSU and I had my whole family there. It was a great time.
Q: What is your philosophy towards working hard at school, being a Valedictorian, going back to school for a fourth year when you could’ve passed that up like a lot of people have done? What is your philosophy in doing that?
A: I just wanted to be different. My mindset was different. Growing up, I had a lot of family members and a lot of my best friends go the wrong route. I didn’t want to do that. You’ll hear me say over and over again: my purpose is to motivate and inspire. That’s what I wanted to do and my mindset was ‘just because I’m in this situation, I’m not going to stay here.’ Just because I’m living this certain way, I’m not going to live this all of my life. So, each and every day, my mom and my dad can tell you – I worked out probably three times a day growing up. Just getting up, doing my extra [workout] and then going to school and doing a workout, then after coming home and doing my own thing. It was bigger than football. I pretty much wanted to do it [with] the best of both worlds. Get my degree and the kids in my community are seeing me doing that, going back and passing on money? They’ll be like ‘well, it’s not all about that. He’s different. He’s a guy that we can pretty much learn from and he can inspire us to get a degree also.’ It’s not all about playing sports and being known as an athlete.
Q: This is compared to a big college town in terms of the fan base. Do you think that’s suited for you?
A: Absolutely. I love college. That was the best four years of my life, man. I wish I could go back and do it all over again. I’d do it all over again. The relationships that I’ve built and the people that I’ve met and all the things I was able to do in coming to LSU, and then coming here to a similar type of situation where the fans are very passionate. At LSU, on Thursday – the game is not until Saturday – you have RV’s lined up. People are already cheering and ready to go; and I heard here, on a Friday, they’re lined up. RV’s are lined up and getting ready for Sunday. That hit home for me and I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Speaking of college, are you looking forward to lacing them up against your former teammate, Leonard Fournette?
A: Absolutely. I know we play the Jets the first game, so I know I have one of my great friends, Jamal Adams that just got drafted there, and then I have my brother – my godbrother – Morris Claiborne, who just signed there. I just got off of FaceTime with him so he just told me ‘yo, be ready week one.’ I’m looking forward to it, man. It’s going to be a great time and a great experience.
Q: Tre’Davious, your defensive coordinator from last year was on the radio this morning and said that whenever there was something going on, you kind of calmed the waters. You were the guy that when you spoke, people kind of settled down and they listened to you. Is that something that, as a rookie, when you walk into the NFL, you’d be comfortable being like that as well? Or is that something that you’d have to adapt your personality to?
A: I was never somebody to hoot and holler and try to motivate people that way. I was always sort of a guy to go about my business and when you watch me, you’re going to see. The reason why I’m having this success is because I’m working and I’m striving for excellence and it’s all about a process with me. I can’t come in and be the top dog. I know I have to come in, get familiar with everybody and just try to adapt to the situation and earn my stripes with the guys who have put in their blood, sweat and tears here. I got to pretty much come in and learn from them. And then, when the time presents itself, when guys start looking at me as a leader, I would 100% do that to the best of my ability.
Q: You said at one point, your dream was to go up against the best. AJ Green, Julio Jones – you know they’re on the schedule this year. “
A: I do, I do, I do.
Q: Give me some thoughts about that.
A: My whole deal – I want to be one of the best to go down and play defensive back. I feel like early in my career, to match up against those guys, it’s a good stepping-stone and a good learning curve. I feel like I’m going to come in and I’m going to compete well and I’m going to try and make it hard for those guys. I know those are guys that are Pro Bowl guys and future Hall of Famers. For me to come in and be able to compete and do it against those guys, it’s definitely a privilege, but I’m here now too. I’m a competitor and I’m ready to get to work.
Q: I understand you have a baby boy on the way?
A: Yes, absolutely.
Q: How has that played a role in the pre-draft process?
A: It’s kind of crazy because when you’re sitting in meeting rooms with coaches, you’re told to turn your phone off. You don’t want any distractions. But I’m the complete opposite. I have my phone ringer as loud as it can be. I don’t want to miss nothing. Everybody is fully aware of my situation and I feel like that’s going to be the next day of my life next to this one, next to last night getting drafted. That’s something I’m looking forward to. I’ve been talking to my girl, I know it’s going to be one of the best days of my life but I told her I’m probably not going to be able to experience it because I’m going to be in the room and I’ll probably be blacked out.
Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills