Q AND A WITH: KAVELL CONNER

SECOND-YEAR LINEBACKER WANTS TO KEEP IMPROVING Question: Growing up did you play football and who were some or your football heroes?

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Answer: "I've been playing football since I was five years old. Every summer I knew it was time for football season, something to look forward to. I've played ever since I was a little child. When I was young, I was a big Deion Sanders fan. He was, for me, that super athlete. He did a lot for his team and he was a little flashy with it."

Q: In high school, you were a running back and safety. Coming into college you switched to linebacker, where you play now. How did that come about?

A: "Some colleges recruited me as a running back and some colleges recruited me as a safety/ linebacker. I took a visit down to Clemson and I fell in love with the campus, fell in love with the team. It was a beautiful atmosphere, it felt like a team and I felt at home there. They told me I would play linebacker and I didn't mind because I still like hitting, so I made that decision."

Q: During your time at Clemson you really grew into the linebacker position. When did the NFL start looking like a possibility for you?

A: "As a child growing up, you always dream of playing in the NFL. It's a lifetime dream. In the back of your mind it's always, 'One day this is what I want to do.' You just continue to work hard, do what you're supposed to do and take care of your business and eventually it comes into sight the further you get into college."

Q: You were Clemson's top tackler your last two years there so obviously you had some tremendous success. Do you think being a Colt has made you a better player?

A: "Definitely. Coach always says, 'In order to be a championship team, you have to be able to tackle. You can't miss tackles. Championship teams don't miss tackles.' It's definitely something I focus on. I try to pride myself in not missing too many tackles because as a linebacker that's what you get paid to do…tackle."

Q: What was it like for you to have the opportunity to play in 12 games as a rookie?

A: "It was a great experience, honestly. To come in and play that much as a rookie was definitely a blessing. I was fortunate to get on the field and gain some experience, and I feel like it has made me better coming into my second year. I'm more familiar with the game, the speed of the game, more familiar with the playbook, and I just feel like I'm more accustomed to everything."

Q: Do you have a favorite moment from your rookie season?

A: "Winning the AFC South against Jacksonville. Winning that game and making it into the playoffs when the odds were stacked against us (was special). We defeated all odds and made it into the playoffs still."

Q: What player or coach has helped you develop the most since you've been here?

A: "I would definitely say Gary Brackett has been that guy. He's the definition of a leader. A lot of the younger guys look up to him, especially in the linebacker room. I know he's like a coach on the field for us. We just try to mimic him, his work habits, his study habits and one day hope to be a great player like he is."

Q: What is something you think you need to work on during training camp?

A: "I want to get better at everything. I just want to come out here every day and find one thing I can get better at. If I can find one thing I messed up, if it's one play, if it's one technique whatever it is, I just want to get better at something every day."

Q: What should fans expect to see from you this upcoming season?

A: "Fans should expect for me to come out and give everything I have every game and contribute in any way possible. Whether it's on defense or special teams, whatever way I can contribute to the team that's what the fans are going to see me do."

Q: Who do you credit most for the success you've had playing football?

A: "I think I first have to say I credit God for giving me the talent and ability to play this game. Also I would have to say my family who has pushed me and motivated me the whole way. Whenever I got down on myself, they would pick me up. They always kept me in high spirits and always kept me motivated."

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