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Interviews: Linebackers Akeem Davis- Gaither - Appalachian State & Malik Harrison - Ohio State

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Malik Harrison (39)
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Harrison – Ohio State OLB

6’,3” 245 pounds, 40 time: 4.64

Projected round: 3-4

Q: What was the norm for life in college football?

A: After the game on Saturday we would watch the game film on Sunday and have an academic day off on Monday but could come in and watch more film. Get the scouting report of the next opponent sometime on Monday throughout the day. Tuesdays about 2:30 after classes we would work on first and second downs and Wednesdays third down work through.

Q: You technically came out early?

A: I haven’t graduated yet, I have one semester left.

Q: You are definitely a leader. Did you make the defensive calls?

A: Not usually. There are certain calls we called “Mohawk” that required me to call out adjustments. I am more of a one-on-one leader and show it out on the field and to help my teammates.

Q: You were named First Team All-Big 10. That is quite an accomplishment in a tough conference.

A: You have to be tough in this conference, there just isn’t any other way to be. There are a lot of games that really take it out on you and without strength and determination, you cannot make it through an entire game. The honor is humbling to me and at the same time I accept what an accomplishment it really is.

Q: What is your strength: pass coverage or run support?

A: I was rarely used in pass coverage and was relied on to help the run game. I have a good ability to find the right gap to slip through and make a play and am a sure tackler. I want to show that I can get back into coverage. I want to improve on this part of my game and will.

Q: What will NFL coaches be saying about you after this week?

A: That I am a tough guy and how physical I am and how I can run from sideline-to-sideline. I recover well and I can run.

Q: You are an Ohio native and went to high school in Columbus and then college. Would it continue the cycle for you to just stay in Ohio and be drafted by the Browns?

A: You grow up watching the Browns and Bengals on TV and want to be part of that tradition. What would be special is the ability to have all my family and friends be able to come watch me play just like with Ohio State. Cut down on that travel money. I take pride in where I come from and to be able to continue my career just down the road would be a great experience.

Appalachian State v Georgia Southern
Akeem Davis-Gaither #24 of the Appalachian State Mountaineers
Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Akeem Davis-Gaither – Appalachian State OLB

6’,1” 215 pounds, 40 time: 4.58

Projected round: 4

Q: What are NFL teams saying about you?

A: A player with explosiveness and energy to come in and make plays.

Q: What are your best qualities?

A: A leader on and off the field, and somebody who can stay out of trouble. I am a good tackler and can hit hard.

Q: Which side is your best position?

A: Either. I can play sideline-to-sideline. I feel I have the speed to get to any play.

Q: What do you consider to be your strength: run stop, sacks or getting back into coverage?

A: I would have to say run stoppage. I can get after the quarterback a few times a game, but depends on the system you play in. If you blitz a lot, you get more quarterback hits and sacks. In college, we didn’t a bunch of blitzing and they relied on me to make stops in the run game.

Q: Are you going into an NFL training camp with the idea that you will be the starter right off?

A: I really just want to make the 53-man roster and contribute any way I can.

Q: So you would be willing to play special teams?

A: Oh sure, and in fact something that I can good at. I love the downfield open-field tackling situations. But my goals long-term are not to come in and be a career special teams guy. I am a starting linebacker and expect myself to fill that role at some point. I will come in and compete as if I can be that guy, and then see where they need me and won’t create problems because I am not starting.

Q: Which NFL players did you look up to when you were younger?

A: Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu - mostly defensive guys.

Q: Favorite foods?

A: I am a seafood guy. So lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters, fish.