Alex Peterman of Locker Room Update recently interviewed Jamel Major, a starting cornerback for Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Major is currently playing for the Aggies as a senior, and he hopes to prepare for a career in professional football. Here, he shares with me his inspirations and endeavors. The full Q&A follows. You can check out his highlight reel here.
When did you first fall in love with playing football?
When I first put on the pads at the age of 5. Ever since pee wee, I knew this was going to be more then just a game to me.
Who was your role model in football when you were growing up, and who was your role model outside of the sport during your childhood?
Deion Sanders was my role model growing up, he played with so much confidence and swagger. I would try to imitate his game when I was on the field. My mother was my role model off the field, she did everything for me and continues to be my hero and number one fan.
What’s the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
“Never let anyone tell you what you can’t be, as long as you believe, that’s all that matters.”
Why choose Oklahoma Panhandle State University?
I built a relationship with my defensive backs coach during the recruiting process.
Having grown up in South Florida myself, I’d like to know – for you, what is the biggest difference between your hometown of Fort Lauderdale and Goodwill, Oklahoma?
FL is fast paced, and Oklahoma is so slow and has nothing but land.
Who in the NFL do you see as a role model for what you want to accomplish in football, and why?
Tyrann Mathieu, he plays with so much heart and passion, and that’s what I want to model my game after. Just making plays all over the field and doing whatever it takes to help my team win.
A lot of people will generalize when they see a defensive back at 5’8” or 5’9,” when, in fact, there are a great deal of star cornerbacks and safeties under six feet tall, including Darrelle Revis, Brent Grimes, Joe Haden, and Jonathan Joseph. To you, what is the most effective way a shorter defensive back can neutralize a taller wide receiver?
By having great technique. I believe if your footwork is better then the opposing receiver then you automatically have the advantage. Being undersized, you have to have great feet and be technically sound. You have to always get a hand on the receiver and control him throughout his routes. Which is why I work so hard to perfect my craft and technique.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Either in the NFL or the CFL doing whatever it takes to help my team win games.
And to close, what’s the most important thing about you off the field that makes you a better player on the field?
I’m positive about everything, and want to learn as much as possible.