Prince ready for Giant leap in life, football

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
6:00
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- More than two years after being drafted, New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara has gone from being a sweetly na´ve rookie to an undisputed starter and engaged man.

The 2011 first-round pick out of Nebraska will be a starting corner opposite Corey Webster this season. Giants coach Tom Coughlin spoke highly of Amukamara after Wednesday's training camp practice.

"I think he's much more in tune with what we want him to do," Coughlin said. "He feels better, he's growing in confidence, he's made a lot of plays here in the preseason. I'm expecting him to have a real good year."

[+] EnlargePrince Amukamara
AP Photo/Julio CortezPrince Amukamara is firmly entrenched as a starter.
Amukamara, 24, said he felt like he was able to step up last season as the Giants weathered injuries, including a second straight season-ending injury to fellow corner Terrell Thomas. "I think I was ready for those [opportunities] and I stepped up to the challenge," Amukamara said.

Being a cornerback, particularly coming in as a backup, is a high-pressure job.

"Like with the D-tackle or linebacker, if they miss the gap, no one can really see it unless you correct it on film," Amukamara said. "But with the corner, everyone is screaming at their TV."

Given the public nature of his recent proposal, Amukamara is getting comfortable with that spotlight. He proposed to his girlfriend, Pilar Davis, on stage at a Jabbawockeez performance in Las Vegas. He put on a mask and learned the dance moves, and with Davis in a chair on stage, pulled off the mask and pulled out a ring. She said yes.

Now they are planning the wedding, while Amukamara is mulling whether to release a video about his proposal to Davis -- his first girlfriend.

"You can always think the grass is going to be greener on the other side," Amukamara said. "But I was told the grass can also be greener where you are. I've been around a lot of women, and she just separated herself."

Some of the best advice he got from Thomas was to use the opportunities that the NFL provides to travel, so this offseason, Amukamara went to Aruba and the Bahamas. He also went to his sister's wedding in Nigeria, his parents' native country.

Amukamara is entering his third NFL season. In his first, Amukamara was part of the Giants' Super Bowl-winning effort. It was an introduction that made the feat seem easier to accomplish than it actually is.

"It was great just to experience all that in my first year, playing in high-pressure games, being part of that atmosphere," Amukamara said. "It kind of spoiled it for me, because I almost thought every year is going to be like this -- which obviously it's not."

This season, the Super Bowl will be held in the Giants' own MetLife Stadium. Suffice it to say, Amukamara hopes for a return engagement.
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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