LSU Tigers defensive end Sam Montgomery may just be one of the most misunderstood prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft class. By now you have all heard about the infamous comments at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, but after listening to Montgomery speak you get a better feel for how he is as a person and how that misunderstanding has helped him grow.
On the field, Montgomery is an animal.
He has a rare physical presence and is incredible against the run. As a pass rusher, he has a solid repertoire of moves and has relentless pursuit of the passer. Altogether, Montgomery is one of the most well-round defensive end prospects. People may question Montgomery’s motor or work ethic, but they are dead wrong. When you look at the tape, you quickly see that he is giving his all on every down and never stops until the whistle is blown.
Off the field, Montgomery is a rare breed.
He is as humble as they come and he is appreciative and thankful for every opportunity that is presented to him. It is refreshing to see a personality like Montgomery’s and he is exactly the type of player that you want on your team and in your locker room.
Montgomery took some time out from his busy pre-draft schedule to answer a few questions that we had for him ranging from preparation for the draft to the combine experience to his honorable nickname. It was a pleasure speaking with Montgomery and his answers were as open and honest as you can get.
Here are the questions that I asked Montgomery during our chat and his answers that you will surely open your eyes and give you a better understanding of one of the most intriguing players in this year’s draft class.
Josh Sanchez: How has this entire draft experience been for you?
Sam Montgomery: The draft season has been pretty incredible. I’ve learned so many things about football, so many things about how the organizations work, and it’s just been a learning experience and I’m just soaking it all in like a sponge.
Sanchez: If you had to describe yourself as a player, what would you say are the strengths of your game?
Montgomery: The strengths of my game would have to be passion, intensity and being relentless.
Sanchez: Do you feel that your experience in the SEC has helped to better prepare you for the NFL?
Montgomery: I think my experience in the NCAA, playing all of the diverse teams in conference and out of conference, has helped prepare me for the NFL.
Sanchez: What kind of influence did coach Les Miles have on you as a player and a person?
Montgomery: Coach Miles helped me grow as a player coming from out of city. He helped me grow mentally, as well as physically. That’s one of the things that LSU teaches you how to do. They teach you how to grow from two different perspectives.
Sanchez: How was your close relationship with Barkevious Mingo and did that translate to you two pushing each other to do better on the field?
Montgomery: Definitely. Everyone knows you have to go out there and do a job, but the closer you are, the closer of a family you are I think that makes you play a lot harder. LSU is all about family — the coaching staff, fan support and players. That’s what I had at LSU, a good family.
Sanchez: Who was the toughest offensive tackle that you faced during your time in college?
Montgomery: I’d have to say Chris Faulk and the offensive tackle from West Virginia that I went up against in 2011.
Sanchez: How was the entire experience for you at the scouting combine?
Montgomery: It was really good to get around the NFL and NFL coaching staffs, trainers and GMs, as well as doctors. It was nice to get a sense of what it’s going to be like at the next level. You know, it was really great to meet all of other players from other schools and see that they are really humble guys and that everyone is ready to work hard.
Sanchez: During the interviews at the combine, you made those controversial comments. How did teams respond and have they been asking you about them?
Montgomery: A lot of teams will ask me about the comments, but once I told them a simple answer and they saw the film, they completely understand where I was coming from and what I was trying to say. It was just misconstrued.
There’s just an energy that you get from playing different games. The crowd is more hyped for the SEC in conference games, so there is a different energy.
Sanchez: What would you say to people who still have questions about your work ethic or motor?
Montgomery: I know that everyone in the entire stadium knows that I play hard every game. There hasn’t been a game where I haven’t played hard and left it all out on the field.
Sanchez: Who are some of the teams that you have met with so far?
Montgomery: Some of the teams that I’ve met with are the Bengals and Chargers. I’ve also met with the New York Giants, talked to them a little bit, and the Vikings. A lot of teams are interested, but, you know, these last final months I really want to let people know what kind of person I am.
Sanchez: How would you describe yourself as a player off the field?
Montgomery: I’m just a humble guy who is looking to make his mark. I’m waiting for the opportunity.
Sanchez: Can you tell us a little about how you got your nickname, “Sonic”?
Montgomery: Yeah, Sonic the Hedgehog. It was actually a game that me and my brother used to play. When my brother got shot and killed, I just took over the name “Sonic” to keep his memory going. I wanted to let him know that I never forgot about him, so I carry around the one memory that we cherish together.
Sanchez: How will you be spending draft day?
Montgomery: I think I am going to spend draft day in Greenwood, South Carolina and bring it home to the place that helped build me as a person. I think it’d be right to give back to the community because they helped to create me and send me out in to the world.
Sanchez: When you are with all of those people who have supported you the entire way, how do you think it will feel to finally get that call from an NFL team and realize everything you have worked so hard for is finally a reality?
Montgomery: I feel like regardless of what happens, I can rejoice with my family and the people who raised me. I know that they will be happy with whatever happens and, mentally, I can never lose.
Sanchez: Do you have any goals for your rookie season?
Montgomery: Yes, I want to make the Pro Bowl my first year. Shoot for the stars, so even if you miss you land in the clouds.
Sanchez: Do you have any words for the fans that you may end up playing in front of some day?
Montgomery: Only one thing: When I step out on to the field, I just want to earn my respect. I want to earn everything that I am given. I have no problem with working hard and showing people that I belong there. So just accept me with open hands and give me a clap when I get drafted.
I’d like to thank Sam for taking the time out of his schedule and wish him the best moving forward in his career.