|NFL Draft Q&A: CB Amari Spievey|
DB Amari Spievey (Iowa Athletics)
Iowa's shutdown cornerback, Amari Spievey, tells Scout.com's Ed Thompson what event in his life contributed the most to his maturity as a player and a person, how he can be an asset to the run defense as well as pass coverage in the NFL--and much more in this exclusive interview.
Amari Spievey answers additional questions in this two-minute audio clip exclusively for Scout.com subscribers. Spievey talks about his tackling skills, how he dealt with the fact that quarterbacks didn't throw to his side as often last year, and what he's looking forward to most about playing in the NFL: Listen to Audio
Ed Thompson: As you look back on your career at Iowa, what are you really proud of?
Amari Spievey: To start both years I was there after I got kicked out and came back, that was great. To be able to compete at a high level and help the defense win and to be a huge factor on the defense and lock down my side every game.
Thompson: You started out with a bump in the road, redshirting your freshman year and left to go to Iowa Central Community College. While you were there you got your academics on track and had a standout season for their football team. Talk about how that experience of being forced to leave Iowa benefited you in the long run.
Spievey: It re-humbled me. Getting kicked out and going there was a big wake-up call. It made me appreciate the opportunity and blessings I had at Iowa and made me fight even harder to reach my goal. I knew if I got a chance to come back it would be my last chance, and I wanted to make the best of it.
Thompson: What did you do to become successful in the academic arena so that you could carry that success forward during your second chance at Iowa?
Spievey: The first thing was I had to grow up. Back in Connecticut I never went far from home, I always had people there supporting me and familiar faces. Being away from home for the first time was kind of hard for me. I had to grow up, and being kicked out helped me do that. It helped me realize just what I had to do to be a man and focus on what I have to do. I'm not saying I'm glad it happened, but it turned out to be a good thing for me.
Thompson: Talk about being an Art major because that's not an academic focus you often see associated with a top-notch football player.
Spievey: My whole family is good at drawing. I've been drawing since I was little. My brother was always drawing, so I've been watching him for years and found that I had the ability to draw, too. And I found that it's something I love to do. Whenever I have free time I pull out some paper and a pencil and just draw whatever I see, whatever's on my mind. I talked to Coach Ferentz and he said, "while you're here you might as well do something you love to do" and I love to draw, so I decided to be an Art major.
Thompson: Do you paint as well or do you mainly do the sketching?
Spievey: Mainly sketching. Painting's hard, I just started it last year and I'm alright with it. But I want to develop my skills, so I'll probably do some more painting later on.
Thompson: You had four interceptions last year and you added another two this year. One phrase I keep seeing and hearing in regards to you is "shutdown corner" which is one of the ultimate compliments a corner can get. It's not unusual for a guy who pays that much attention to the receiver to be not as active in the tackling game as you were.
Spievey: At Iowa they teach the corners to be there in run support just as much as covering the receivers. I think that's going to help me in the NFL, to be able to tackle no matter what size a guy is.
Thompson: One of the nicknames given to you is "the glove". Where did that come from?
Spievey: It actually came from basketball. When I was little, I was always guarding the top scorer on every team we played in high school, so they nicknamed me "the glove".
Thompson: What are you expecting your NFL Combine experience to be like?
Spievey: Hopefully it'll be a good experience. I've been working hard to prepare, and my main focus is my 40. A lot of scouts and people online are talking about the fact that they don't know how fast I am because I don't get challenged deep in football games. So I want to show them that I can run.
Thompson: Has there been anything really different about training for this compared to the training you were doing at Iowa?
Spievey: No, I worked hard at Iowa and they have us working hard here too. I threw up the first couple days--that's how hard they were working us--but I'm used to it now and I'm getting faster, more flexible, and stronger.
Thompson: What is it you want NFL teams to know about you as a person when you talk to them at the Combine?
Spievey: I'm a good kid. I've never been in trouble, I don't smoke or drink. I'm a hard worker, I'm very competitive, and I plan on making any team that picks me better and help them win some games.
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You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.