Prince Amukamara became a Giant in the first round of the 2011 draft, and has been making plays in the secondary ever since. The corner back has spent three seasons in New York, and was a member of the 2011 Super Bowl champion team his rookie year.
His play on the field and his personality off the field have made him a quick fan favorite, and a great addition to the Big Blue defense.
In this exclusive interview for NY Giants Rush, I had the opportunity to chat with Amukamara. With the help of the rest of the NY Giants Rush staff, this Q&A was put together.
Read on, and enjoy the RUSH!!
Alexis Celluro: After a slow start, we saw the defense make some major changes in the second half of the season. What would you say was the biggest factor in the Giants’ defensive turnaround midseason?
Prince Amukamara: Leadership! A lot of guys really stepped up and set the example of how they wanted to finish season.
AC: With that being said, how do you think the team can carry the momentum from the end of last season into next season?
PA: We finished strong this season. It’s going to be a new team and new group of guys, we just have to set the tone again.
AC: What improvements does the defense, as a whole, need to make heading in to next season?
PA: We made strides from previous year we have to continue to understand what the coaches want done on every play.
AC: During Perry Fewell’s tenure with the team, we have seen a few different defensive strategies. How much man coverage is in the Giants’ defensive scheme? Do you have a personal preference between playing in man or zone?
PA: I love playing man. It makes it more competitive and Coach Fewell enjoys pressuring the other team so, it’s mostly zone blitzes.
AC: What areas do you personally aim to improve during the off season?
PA: Catching the ball!! I dropped so many pics!
AC: You’ve been open in the past about your strict diet and training regimen. Can you give us an idea of what your daily routine looks like, in season and out?
PA: It stays the same. Just no fast food or soda and since I’m married I love eating my wife’s food. So I rarely eat out now.
AC: In high school, you played both offense and defense, and were an All State running back. When exactly did you make the switch to cornerback, and why? Was it a personal choice/preference, or was it a decision made by the coaching staff at Nebraska?
PA: Nebraska moved me on their own without telling me at all. At first I had a hard time with the change but now I’m thankful.
AC: The NFL Combine and Draft are just around the corner. Do you remember what your own combine experience was like? How stressful would you say the entire process was for you?
PA: It was amazing and nerve wracking at the same time. The combine was the biggest interview of my life and the draft was the biggest moments, other than the Super Bowl.
AC: You were the 19th overall pick in 2011. How did you deal with the high expectations that came with being a top draft pick?
PA: Being drafted first round comes with a lot of expectations and I wasn’t worried at all because I hold myself to the highest standards.
AC: From your rookie season until now, how have you been able to see yourself evolve as a player?
PA: Being smarter on the field and taking care of my body.
AC: What would you say is your proudest moment thus far, either on or off the field?
PA: Marrying my wife.
AC: Some of your teammates are known for having larger than life personalities. Who is the biggest practical joker in the locker room?
PA: Eli hands down!
AC: Do you have a quick anecdote about Eli being a jokester? I think some fans may not think of him as the typical “class clown” type of character!
PA: Well, I’m sure most people have seen Eli on SNL and he’s definitely showed his sense of humor there. I can’t really share locker room talk, but one thing he did was I came back to my phone and it was all Chinese.
AC: Do you have any rituals or superstitions you follow before games?
PA: Don’t believe in them.
AC: You have had the challenge of covering some of the top receivers in the NFL. Who is the toughest player you have gone up against?
PA: Calvin Johnson.
AC: What makes Johnson the most difficult guy you have gone up against?
PA: His size! He’s like the Lebron James of football. He’s big and he can run, it’s almost impossible to stop him.
AC: How often do on-field battles turn personal, like the sports world witnessed recently with Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree?
PA: I haven’t experienced one.
AC: As a veteran presence in the Giants’ secondary, what would be your biggest piece of advice to some of the younger guys on the team? What specifically do you wish you had known before you entered the league?
PA: Just taking care of my body. It’s a long season. 24 games.
AC: Who has been the person that has most influenced the way you play the game?
PA: Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas
AC: Webster and Thomas have been teammates that you have looked up to, but was there anyone in particular you emulated growing up?
PA: Never tried to be anyone. I was a fan of wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock though.
Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist