How does it feel to be a Niner?
“It feels amazing.”
How would you describe your game to people who are unfamiliar with you?
“I think I’m a very cerebral player. I pride myself on knowing the defense. I pride myself on being able to get the guys lined up on the team, and being a great teammate and also doing my job. I’m very fortunate to be on such an incredible defense with the guys that are up there now, and I just can’t wait to get to work.”
The guy who was a starter here last year, S Dashon Goldson, had a reputation as a hitter, a big-hitter. How do you see yourself in that regard?
“I play like him, I’d say so. We play with some serious contact at LSU, so it’s definitely something I have on my resume as a football player.”
What does it tell you that the 49ers traded up to get you? They gave up something, moved up a lot of slots in the draft to claim you, how do you feel about that part of it?
“It’s an honor. It’s a crazy story, I was on the red carpet and a reporter asked me, it was a trivia question, she asked me who had the most picks in the draft and I said San Francisco. I knew the answer. I guess it’s just a small world being that they picked me.”
What was your interaction with them leading up to the draft?
“I dealt with coach Harbaugh at the combine when we had our formal meeting because he recruited me coming when I was coming out of high school. He poked fun at me for not going to Stanford and choosing LSU, but the story comes full circle that he ended up drafting me.”
Was that the only time you had contact with him?
“Yeah at the combine and I had a couple of phone calls with him. I didn’t take a visit to California, but I spoke with him at the combine.”
Why didn’t you visit the 49ers?
“I didn’t have a choice. I guess the teams and the agents setup the visits. It just wasn’t on my schedule.”
Coming out high school why didn’t you go to Stanford?
“Oh, I was born and raised in Louisiana. I bled purple and I still bleed purple and gold. It was a no-brainer for me to go to LSU.”
Did coach Harbaugh recruit you pretty hard?
“Yeah, he did. He was actually the only school that recruited me as hard as LSU did. All of the other schools pretty much gave up knowing that I was an in-state guy, but it said a lot about how much he wanted me to go to Stanford and I appreciated it.”
Did you come out and take a visit to Stanford?
“No, I didn’t take any visits at all. I just took my visit to LSU.”
Because of your connection with Harbaugh, did you watch the 49ers much the past year or two?
“I definitely watched them because they have an incredible defense. Some went to LSU, so that’s something that I like to see and I’m very fortunate in being that I’ll be playing with them.”
What strikes you most overall about that defense?
“How many guys are just phenomenal players. I mean you name it and they’re the reason they got to the Super Bowl. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. They didn’t win it this past year, but I look forward to getting to California and helping them get back to the Super Bowl.”
Coach Harbaugh just told the team website that your mom, this is where she wanted you to go too. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
“Yeah, my mom works in the Bay Area, San Jose. So, she’s a traveling nurse. She’s a registered nurse and she’s been going back and forth to California since I was in middle school. So, that’s another reason why I kind of kept an eye on the team because my mom has been there for so long. So, it’s a small world.”
What is her name?
When Harbaugh was recruiting you out of high school, did he come ever visit you in Louisiana?
“No, I don’t think he did. The recruiting coordinator came and visited me a couple of times in high school, and I talked to him on the phone a bunch.”
Was that your daughter you brought on stage when you went to shake NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand tonight?
And how old is she?
“She’s three. She’ll be four in June.”
How has that been, just balancing fatherhood and trying to prepare for the NFL?
“It’s been tough. It’s been a long time coming. But at the same time, it’s been such a blessing. She’s the reason I am the way I am today, along with the way I was raised. The game of football has changed for me. It was a personal goal at first, but now it’s become a way to provide for my family. It’s a way to provide for my daughter. I’m just ecstatic that I can do that.”
Did the 49ers tell you they were going to draft you if they had a chance?
“They told me they’d love to have me. They didn’t tell me straight out that they would draft me because the draft is a big chess game. You never know what happens until it does. I’m just fortunate and ecstatic to be with this team.”
How many teams told you something like that?
“A lot of them, but I definitely felt a good vibe from them when I talked to them. They a guy named [assistant secondary coach] Greg Jackson who wasn’t too bad at his days at LSU. So. it’ll be fun working with him.”
What do you know about the other guys in the secondary on the 49ers?
“I know they’re a great group, hard-hitting safeties, great cover corners. I just can’t wait to get to work with those guys.”
What’s the tallest receiver you’ve covered in college?
“The tallest? Probably 6-4. There’s a guy at [Texas] A&M, and my freshman year there they had two really tall receivers. [Atlanta Falcons WR] Julio [Jones] was at ‘Bama [Alabama] my freshman year as well.”
And what’s your daughter’s name?