NFL Draft Prospect Interview – Wesley Johnson, OT Vanderbilt

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Nov 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores safety Eric Samuels (22) and linebacker Wesley Johnson (67) celebrate after a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Commodores beat the Volunteers 41-18. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US Presswire

PS: With all of the success Vanderbilt has had recently, what is the most meaningful win for you in your career?

WJ: UT my junior year, because that was the first we beat them.  We went to a bowl game the year before, but we were .500 that year.  We were on a win streak, you know.  We were doing really well, but every time Tennessee comes to Vanderbilt, our stadium is just orange.  It’s embarrassing how orange it is.  And then my junior year, we walk out early before all the other guys run out and it was 80% Vanderbilt fans.  That was really cool, that was really special to me.

PS: How satisfying was it to end your career with a win in the bowl game against Houston?

WJ: It was cool.  It sucked to leave those guys, but I guess the way the game played, the game ended up being closer than we thought it was going to be, but we kind of came together and pulled it out in the end kind of showed how we had grown as a program and it was kind of cool to leave on that note.

PS: How do you feel about the incoming coach, Derek Mason?

WJ: He’s awesome.  The guys like him a lot and he seems real genuine.  They love the way that the practices are going and the way the coaches are coaching them, so I’m excited for the future there.

PS: Would it bother you if the program was unable to build off of your class’s success or would it make your class’s achievements feel that much more special?

WJ: I had never really thought about that.  I guess it would suck if they don’t pan out, but I’m confident they will.  There’s more talent on that team than we’ve ever had, so I’m excited for them.  I think they’ll do really great things.  If not next year, the couple years after that.

PS: How does it feel that your grandfather played for teams that don’t exist anymore?

WJ: (Laughs) Yea.  I mean, I don’t know.  He didn’t play that long.  He played college at Hofstra.  That’s what he talks to me more about.  He talks me more about college as opposed to the NFL.

PS: Yea, but anywhere he went no longer there.  Hofstra doesn’t have a football program anymore and obviously theColts are in Indianapolis.

WJ: They don’t?  I didn’t know that.  No, I had no idea about that.  I wonder if he even knows.  I guess he probably knows.  But yea.  I dunno.  It’s weird.

PS: Was the Senior Bowl experience better because you were able to go down with Jordan Matthews and Kenny Ladler?

WJ: Yea.  That made it better being with those guys.  We had a really tight senior class.  I think that was one of the reasons we were good and I’m back in Nashville now and I love just hanging out with these guys because, you know, I’m not going to do it that much more.  I’m not going to be able to do it as much in the future.

PS: What do you think a team is getting from Kenny Ladler?

WJ: They’re gonna get a guy who plays his butt off.  He’s a great, game changing safety.  He made a huge difference for us.  There were times where we didn’t really expect him to make a play, you know, he’d come up with a big pick.  I think he had like 5 turnovers in the last four games or something like that.  He’s a game changing player for us.  He made a huge difference this past year.

PS: How about Jordan Matthews?

WJ: There were times when he was our offense.  We weren’t going and we just started throwing to Jordan.

PS: And the other guy who was not at the Senior Bowl but a solid prospect in his own right, Andre Hal?

WJ: We had four really good DBs.  I think draftwise, he’s probably the best prospect, but they all work together.  They were all seniors, so that helped and they were all great leaders for us.