In part two of our interview with Kevin Snyder, we discuss his preparation for the NFL Draft, his thoughts on Chris Borland, and of course, his Final Four picks. A huge thank you to Kevin for taking time during Spring Break to let #CHOPNation learn more about him. You can find part one here.
Q: Let's talk prep for the NFL. You ran a 4.54 at Pro Day, which is defensive back speed. You also had the highest vertical. You also call yourself -- and I've seen this in an interview -- the smartest player on the team. If an NFL team asks 'What are we getting in a Kevin Snyder,' what would you say?
Kevin Snyder: You're getting a guy who is smart enough to understand an entire defense and be able to conduct an entire defense and make sure everybody is right. I also think you're getting a guy who -- especially with the training I got in and the rehab I've gotten from my injuries and soreness -- you're getting, in my view, a better athlete than you've ever seen on film. I really do truly feel that way, and the way I was able to run and the way I was able to jump and move at Pro Day was a real indicator of that. Like I've said in interviews before, I feel like I'm just coming into college again in terms of how my legs feel, in terms of how loose I feel, how I feel in my hips and my hamstrings and my knees -- it's a good sign moving forward, and I think that's the type of player you're getting.
Q: I know that throughout your senior year, you had to play hurt a little bit. You had a turf toe injury, and you had to play through that. Going forward in a potential pro career, would you say you're close to 100%?
Kevin Snyder: Yes. It's funny, usually when I was working out at Power Train, maybe every other day I feel it, kind of sore, maybe a little tight. But once I got up to the week before Pro Day, and then ever since Pro Day, I haven't had any problems. I don't feel any pain in it, and I've been doing running stuff, so that's a good sign. I think I'm about as good as I can be right now, and that is good news.
Q: You have played all three linebacker positions at Rutgers. do you have a position you like best, or do you prefer to be versatile?
Kevin Snyder: I prefer to be versatile. Every position in [Rutgers'] defense has its own ups and downs -- with the SAM linebacker position, you're right there in the heat of everything on the line most of the time. With WILL, you get to run around a little more, and with the MIKE you get to be in charge. I can do all of those, and I have no problem doing all three or doing one of them. Obviously with the WILL, it's a little more funky in that you get to run around and be a little more free, at least in our defense. But for me, it's just do whatever I can do to get on the field or help the team. That was my biggest thing.
Q: Chris Borland just retired at the age of 24. What are your thoughts on his decision?
Kevin Snyder: It's tough to talk about because I don't know exactly why. I know some of it is due to concussions, but I don't know what kind of history he had with head injuries or anything, but if he did, I understand why. In making that decision, I'm sure he has a lot of things lined up for himself with having his degree and getting a job afterwards, so I'm sure he has everybody's respect and everybody's understanding with that decision. But I don't know what his history was with head injuries.
Q: It's such a tough concept nowadays, and a bit of a touchy subject as well, but it is something at the heart of the NFL right now in terms of health. Do you have any thoughts on where the future of NFL health is going?
Kevin Snyder: I really don't, I mean I think that they've done as much as you can do with this sport without really crippling the game and trying to protect people when it comes to protecting receivers and quarterbacks, and I think that that's as much as you can possibly do. Anything more, and it might not even be football anymore. So I think they've done as much as they can, and just like anything else, you get what you sign up for. You sign up to play football, you sign up to play in the NFL or in college -- things happen. Injuries happen, and that's what you sign up for. I can't imagine making many more changes in the future.
Q: Kyle Flood loves to say that Rutgers prepares you for life after football because it is a relatively short career compared to others. Any thoughts on what you would like to do after?
Kevin Snyder: I'm working on finishing my economics degree. I'd love to at some point, when my football career is over -- hopefully way down the road -- get into the finance industry. I have some people that I know that can help me get in the door, so that would be good. For me, the coaching thing -- I'd love to do it, that's a passion I have. At the same time, that's so difficult trying to settle on one area. You're moving a lot, you're working all the time doing a bunch of different things, so that would be something a little bit further down the road if I could find someplace where I can settle in and coach somewhere for a long time. I'm not big into moving a lot.
Q: We talked about the football side of Kevin Snyder, but what's something the fans don't know about Kevin Snyder the person?
Kevin Snyder: I'm as laid-back a person as you could ever find. I don't like to go crazy, I don't like to do anything wild, I'm about as much a laying around and doing nothing type of person as you could ever imagine. If I'm not training or playing football I like to just sit around. I'm not a video game guy, I watch TV -- just do nothing, I'm a big nothing person.
Q: Anything you're watching right now?
Kevin Snyder: I've gone through a lot of shows, but right now it's all March Madness.
Q: Who is in your Final Four?
Kevin Snyder: I don't even want to say, it's so bad. I had Iowa State -- we all know how that ended up. Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Q: So only one one-seed then?
Kevin Snyder: Yeah, and I have North Carolina and Iowa State in the finals with North Carolina winning.
Q: Oh. Well you have one team left...
Kevin Snyder: My bracket is in shambles. My right part of the bracket is completely out.
Q: Any other sports you like to watch other than football?
Kevin Snyder: I'm just football and basketball. I've never watched a full baseball game in my life. I do enjoy watching wrestling a little bit. I know some people kind of laugh at that a little bit, but wrestling is unbelievable to watch. I don't know if you're a big wrestling watcher or not.
Q: I was a big wrestling watcher in the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and the Rock.
Kevin Snyder: I used to watch that a lot, but now I don't anymore. I've moved on to high school and college wrestling.
Q: [Laughs] Oh, you're talking about real wrestling.
Kevin Snyder: Oh I used to love that stuff...
Q: Well I still know people who watch that stuff, and that's fine.
Kevin Snyder: It's kind of getting to be a little bit too much for me, but I like watching the sport, and I know Rutgers has a good wrestling team, especially going into the Big Ten.
Q: So have you been able to watch Scott Goodale's team much this season?
Kevin Snyder: I watch a little bit, not too much. My high school was always a good wrestling team, and there were always teams around us that would always win state championships in Pennsylvania, so coming out of high school it was always a big deal to get to a wrestling match and then get over to Hershey Park to watch the finals of the states.
Q: Anything you would like to say to #CHOPNation?
Kevin Snyder: I appreciate their support all throughout my college career and I'll continue to try to make everybody on the Banks proud. I hope everything continues to work out and I hope that Rutgers continues to make strides forward.
Q: Where are you in your training now?
Kevin Snyder: I'm still training at Power Train. The guys are awesome there, still the best training I've ever done in my life. We're still making strides and still growing.
Once again, a huge thank you to Kevin for his time, and for being such a great interviewee. You can immediately feel how laid-back he is once you start talking to him, and I have no doubt he will find success wherever he goes.