Thursday, September 8, 2011
Twinterview with K'Hadree Hooker
By By Brandon Parker
On K'Hadree Hooker's Facebook page, it says his place of employment is "on the football field." Trust me, the South Lenoir star isn't lying.
Fresh off a junior campaign of 79 tackles and seven sacks, the senior defensive lineman has continued to wreak havoc on the football field this season for the 2-1 Blue Devils. Hooker joined me for a "Twinterview" (an interview in the format of a Twitter conversation) this week to discuss the season, his commitment to N.C. State, meeting up with Mario Williams and his unique pre-game ritual.
@bighook74 How do you feel your team is doing so far this year?
@brandoncparker In my opinion, I think we're doing pretty good. We've got a young team, but we work hard and I think we're going to surprise a lot of people.
@bighook74 What would you say has made you so successful in football?
@brandoncparker I study film a lot. Also, I played fullback as a freshman and played basketball up until this year, so that helped with my quickness off the line. I still want to get better at my pass rushing, though.
@bighook74 So how'd you go from fullback to playing on the defensive line?
@brandoncparker I came in at about 230 pounds and after my freshman year, my coach said he needed a lineman and moving there would be my best chance to play at the next level. So I put on about 50 pounds just getting in the weight room and eating right.
@bighook74 Of course, you committed to N.C. State recently, but before then, what was the recruiting process like?
@brandoncparker It picked up my sophomore year and it really got out of control in my junior year. It was wild, but a good experience. I got handwritten letters and cards in the mail from coaches wanting me to come visit. I got about 20 letters in the mail every day for a good while.
@bighook74 On Facebook, I saw a picture of you in an Auburn jersey standing next to the BCS championship trophy. What was it like to see that?
@brandoncparker Oh man, that was an awesome experience. It makes you want to get one so bad. I remember telling my mom after that that I had to get that trophy.
@bighook74 So why N.C. State?
@brandoncparker With N.C. State, they were the first school that came at me as a freshman. It just clicked from there. It's close to home, which wasn't a big factor but it helps. I love the family atmosphere because every time I was there, it just felt like home. We're a program that's on the rise and I think I can contribute and help us do big things.
@bighook74 No love for my Tar Heels? (laughs) @brandoncparker (laughs) UNC is actually my favorite basketball school. They recruited me and showed me some love, but with everything that was going on and how I felt at N.C. State, I had to go with the Wolfpack. I am pretty good friends with Quinton Coples, though.
@bighook74 Oh yeah? How'd you guys get tight?
@brandoncparker Quinton is my buddy, man. He's from Kinston, too, so we have a great connection and he's a great guy. We talk about life in general and he's a guy I can look up to and have answer questions for me when I need it.
@bighook74 What's the best piece of advice he's given you?
@brandoncparker The biggest thing he says is I have to play with a nasty streak and play big. He also says to just stay humble through it all. He gives great advice and I hope he has a big year.
@bighook74 Besides Quinton, which other players — college or NFL — do you look up to?
@brandoncparker I like Mario Williams. He's got the N.C. State connection and he actually played for my coach [Kevin Wilson] in high school when he was at Richlands. I like the way him and Julius Peppers play. But my favorite of all time is Warren Sapp.
@bighook74 So have you ever met Mario Williams?
@brandoncparker I've actually met him a couple of times. Last year I was at an N.C. State basketball game and I had heard he was taking classes on campus. He just happened to be at the game and this guy pointed him out to me. We got introduced and just talked from there. Then he was at the N.C. State football game this past weekend, so we talked some there, too. He just said tell my coach hi and told me to stay focused and keep working hard.
@bighook74 It seems like you're pretty active on Twitter. Do you ever get crazy tweets from college fans?
@brandoncparker Yeah, there's always the fans (laughs). They try to get you to change your mind, so there's some of that. Mostly, I'm on Twitter to stay in touch with my friends and other recruits.
@bighook74 Earlier this week, Twitter went crazy over Maryland's new uniforms. Since you're about to be an ACC guy, what'd you think of them?
@brandoncparker I thought it was something different, so I kind of liked it. I know a lot of people didn't like them, but with everybody talking about it and with how different the uniforms are, I'm sure they can get some recruits with that.
@bighook74 Last question: What's something unique about you that other people wouldn't know?
@brandoncparker Hmmm, that's a tough one right there. I guess since I'm a pretty laid-back guy I get ready for my games differently. You know most guys listen to hype music before games, but me, I got my Beats headphones listening to old school and love songs. I know it's weird, but it gets me in the right mindset.
Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.