INDIANAPOLIS — Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, the Indianapolis Colts’ second-round (34th-overall) pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, held his first media conference call on Friday night. What did he have to say about his game?
Was this out of nowhere? Was this expected? What were your interactions like with the Colts the last couple of months?
“It was kind of out of nowhere. I felt like I interacted with them well, everything went well, but I didn’t expect them to draft me. I didn’t know, I didn’t know at all.”
Just a couple years ago you were in the FCS and now you are an early second round pick. What has this process been like for you?
“It’s been amazing. It’s been a blessing. I feel like I have learned a lot. I have gotten a lot better. I have grown a lot. It’s just been a blessing.”
How did you end up at the FCS level in the first place?
“I only played football in high school for two years so I was slightly under recruited I feel like. So that was probably the biggest reason.”
Why did you only play football for two years?
“My first time playing sports was in eighth grade wrestling and I was a wrestler throughout high school up until the 11th grade. I gave football a try and it worked out well for me.”
Were you a corner from the start or did you play a couple other positions?
“I played safety my junior year and then I played corner my senior year.”
You said this was a surprise. What was your level of interaction with the Colts leading up to the draft?
“I mean, I had met with them at the combine. I talked to them after the combine. They called to make sure I had the same number and everything, but it was just about the same as my interaction with every other team.”
You didn’t make a pre-draft visit here?
“No sir, I did not.”
For those that haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your game?
“Physical, competitive, tough, technical – a guy who will come out, compete and try to get the job done.”
Did you play mostly man or zone at Temple?
“We ran a Cover-1 scheme, mostly man-to-man and a bit of zone.”
This scheme here is heavy, heavy zone and they ask the corners to make a lot of tackles. It seems like that fits with your strengths. Would you agree and can you elaborate?
“Yes sir. I feel like playing in a scheme where they ask the corner to tackle – I mean, I feel like I tackle well and it’s something that I am not afraid to do and that I like doing.”
When you decided to play at Temple, did you think the NFL was a possibility?
“Yes sir, yes sir.”
How did you know that it was a possibility?
“I just believed in myself. I felt like I had the talent and I had the work ethic. I had great coaches around me that were pushing me. So I felt like I had every opportunity.”
You are a two-time state champion in wrestling, correct?
What weight were you at?
“I won state at 145 and 152.”
What were your emotions like tonight? Obviously you were probably hoping that you got your name called last night. Was that a disappointment? Do you know much about Indianapolis and the Colts?
“I do. I love Indianapolis. It’s a great city. I feel like it’s a great organization. The culture there, the players – they’re young players that play hard, competitors. I feel like we are going to win a Super Bowl in the next few years. So I feel like I am coming to a great situation.”
When you started playing football, did you keep wrestling at that point?
“Yes sir. Yes sir.”
So you wrestled all the way through senior year?
Do you think wrestling helps the football side of things?
In what ways?
“Just the competitiveness. The way in wrestling – it’s a team sport, but it’s a lot of one-on-one matchups. (It’s) the same thing in football. It’s a team sport, but a lot of times you are asked to be one-on-one with a guy and you have to beat that guy. And just not being afraid to be one-on-one because when you wrestle 150 matches in high school one-on-one versus another opponent. So you’re not afraid to stand in front of a guy and play man-to-man or stay in the zone and go one-on-one and tackle the running back.”
When you went to Temple did you feel you had a long way to get to the NFL and a lot of work to do before getting there? At that point, you were pretty far away, wouldn’t you say?
“Yes sir. I mean, coming from Presbyterian – like I talked to my coach, Tommy Spangler. We talked about the ceiling for a guy coming from the FCS and the conference of the Big South. The best you could do is be a seventh-round pick or go undrafted as a free agent. So I knew that it was going to be an uphill battle, but I feel like I was up to the challenge.”
Why did you pick Temple?
“My coaches picked Temple for me. They had connections there and they told me that I would have an opportunity to come in and play, compete and come to a great culture. So I trusted my coaches’ opinion.”
Where are you at right now? Are you with family?
“At my mom’s house.”
“Yes sir. Atlanta, Georgia. Yes sir.”
That Buffalo game last year you were making plays all over the field. How big of a part of your game is forcing takeaways?
“A great part of my game. I feel like I was coached that the ball in the DB’s (defensive back’s) hands is a great sight. Anytime you can get an interception or pick up a fumble and return it or turnovers – that is a great opportunity for a team.”
As a corner, are there any parts of your game that you developed from wrestling like hand fighting or anything like that?
“Yes sir, the hand fighting and then the tackling. I feel like a takedown is a tackle basically.”