Saints S, Usama Young Interview
Usama Young played college football at Kent State. He entered the 2007 NFL Draft and was selected in the 3rd round by the Saints. He was victorious in his lone Super Bowl appearance in 2009. While he was with the Saints, he totaled 105 tackles, 14 pass deflections, and three interceptions. This interview was conducted briefly after the 2010 NFL season. [UPDATE: He signed with the Cleveland Browns before the start of the 2011 season.]
Check out Usama Young’s website at www.UsamaYoung28.com
Announcement : Hello, my name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/, and http://youtube.com/user/ProInterviews/. Please be a part of Pro Interviews. I would like to welcome you to the interview with Usama Young. Usama was a starter at Kent State University for four years, and then was drafted in the 2007 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints in the 3rd round. He has played with the New Orleans Saints for the first four years of his career. He won Super Bowl XLIV with them last year. Let’s get started with the interview! I hope you enjoy the collage also!
Strauss : I know use twitter, but why do you use twitter? And, do you have any other ways to connect with your fans?
Young : No, you already answered it with the connect the fans. I like to keep a close relationship with the fans. Talk to them. Let them know everything that’s going on. But at the same time, I use twitter to talk to some friends on there too because I got some friends that are all around the league. They keep pretty busy schedules. Twitter is a quick way because you send out that quick message and let them know what’s going on, saying what’s up, or saying. That’s one of the most predominant ways I use twitter.
Strauss : Now, we’ll talk about football, what was your whole high school football experience like?
Young : When you say, what was it like… I say it was a great experience. I got to play the game that I love. I got to play it along with a lot of guys that I grew up with. It was just one of the times that I was having fun. I mean, I played a lot of sports in high school. I played football, baseball, track, basketball, and all that. But, football was the one where you kinda just–find that bond, because it’s an all-around team game. There is not too much success that just goes to a straight-up individual. Being able to play along with the guys that I grew up with. Being able to just make plays. It was a great experience. I enjoyed high school. Even though we didn’t win any state championships, I still had a great.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory from any high school sports?
Young : My favorite memory, it was kind of bitter-sweet. My last game in high school, we played against Oxon Hill. I had a pretty good game. I made some big plays. I had an interception, made some nice tackles. I ended up hurting my ankle, and thinking, “Wow, I’m about to go to college, I got to get this thing working.” But, at the same time, I knew that, “Hey, I am about to college. I got to get ready for this next level. It was a great experience. I love high school.”
Strauss : I found some research that said you were part of, “The Stable”, what was that?
Young : “The Stable” taught us. The Stable was a group I worked out with when I was in high school and I still work out with them on a regular basis. We had a few guys that eventually made it to the NFL, and hopefully some more that continue to go to the league. But, Madieu Williams, a guy that plays with the Minnesota Vikings, Andre Kirkland, he was with the Rams for a little bit, and myself. Along with a lot of other college athletes, and my high school and grade school. But Coach Henry Brady started this group called, “The Stable”. He always used to call it, “Horse, Horse, Horse!” That’s what he said, “Horse!” And, we called it “The Stable” because “Hey, we were breeding horses in there.” We were like athletes just speed and endurance. Just kind of going hard-core. “The Stable” was an elite athletic group, and we all stuck together. We all stayed tight. And, every now and then, you might see us make a play. We might throw up a sign that looks like the Texas Longhorn sign, but that’s the sign of “The Stable”. The athletic group that Henry Grady put together, and we all stay close and together since that.
Strauss : Onto college, what was your favorite memory from Kent State?
Young : It would have to be my freshman year. I formed a lot of tight bonds, a lot of close friendships with guys that I continue to keep in touch with. But, my freshman year was the most memorable. I was a Freshman All-American, and I made some amazingly good plays. But starting out at Kent State and knowing that I had the mindset to help turn that program around. That’s what made me go there, other than the academics and everything. But, thinking about the football program, and the chance we had to turn things around, that was my main thing that made me say, “Let’s go to Kent State, and let’s turn this thing around.” I got some guys who I made a lot of tight bonds with, and I got a lot of good memories there.
Strauss : So, what was your draft experience like?
Young : Oh man… the draft was crazy! I tried to stay away from the TV as much as possible, but it didn’t work. I told myself I was going to work out throughout the entire day. I wasn’t going to get into the entire hype and everything. I was just going to basically stay in the weight room, wait until my number got called, and say, “Hey, It’s a blessing!” But, it ended up being a little different. I didn’t get called in the first round. I didn’t get called in the second round. I had no clue when I was going to get a call. I got told by my agent, “Usama, you might be drafted in the first round, you might be drafted in the seventh round, you just got to be ready.” So, that’s what I was kind of on. I started up and waited in the weight room. I lifted weights and everything. I waited for about an hour and half or two hours, and then I said to myself, “Forget that, I can’t be in this weight room.” So, I ended up, going to a field hockey game. It was faculty against the students. I went to that for about an hour and a half. That ended, then I think I am done with that. And then, I call a couple boys, and I say, “Am I drafted?” Because, I can’t wait much longer. And, then as the third round started, I got a call from Coach Payton and Mickey Loomis. They said, “Are you ready to be a Saint?” I said, “What! Man, of course! Yes sir! Please! Please! Get me there fast!” I was excited to do that. And since then, it’s been a dream come true. I’m blessed.
Strauss : So, what was your first career interception like?
Young : Hahaha, first career interception! I don’t even know who that was against. I got one against Kansas City or… I’m not really sure…
Strauss : Take me through the Kansas City interception then.
Young : Oh man. It was one of those games where we were trying to close it out, as a defense. It got to the end of the game, and they were trying to get that drive going, and it was Chris Redman who threw the ball up, I think… So I picked it off. So, I finally got that pick. It was a great experience. I was so happy. I was elated. It was actually one of those things where I said, “Hey, let’s hope this isn’t the last one I get.”
Strauss : So, who’s had the most impact on your career?
Young : I got to say during my first year, I got stuck behind a few savvy veterans. Mike McKenzie was one guy that I looked up to, that has been working. He taught me a lot on and off the field, about how to carry yourself, how to be a professional. Looking at him, I try to mirror my game off of him in his image. He was one of those guys that made lot of plays. He did a lot on the field. Actually he did a lot of the field as well. He was a positive role model, so I try to do that.
Strauss : So, what’s your charity and foundation?
Young : I say my foundation is the Usama Young Youth Foundation. I just started up earlier this year. It’s basically the start of after school programs in New Orleans and Washington DC areas. It’s basically to get kids off the streets. When you have a lot of kids that are smart, don’t really do too much. I want them to use that potential. I want to say, “Hey, you got to have a lot of talent, and a lot of brains, let’s get out. Let’s do something! Let’s not sit out on the side, and chill out. Let’s make the most out of what we got!” So, I try to get the kids off the streets and into doing something that improves their talents the most.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Young : An ice cream flavor, dude, are you for real? We had a talk at Abe’s event, you know I wouldn’t describe myself as an ice cream flavor man! An ice cream flavor, common! You got to give me something else after that ice cream flavor question. I would pick my favorite ice cream flavor. My favorite ice cream flavor is Strawberry. Alright, that’s my favorite. But, I wouldn’t describe myself as any. That was a funny question though.
Strauss : What’s your favorite quote?
Young : Let me think, because I got several quotes that I like. One that I say, that’s on my site, “Get up off your butt if you plan to be rich.” But, I think my favorite, is kind of complicated. “On your worst days, get better! On your best days, continue to try to improve!” I’ll leave it at that.
Strauss : So, for someone aspiring to play football in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?
Young : Keep striving! Keep working! Never give up on your dreams! Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve it because you can. I have to say just forget the naysayers. Don’t let anyone hold your back.
Strauss : Thanks so much Usama! I appreciate you taking the time and doing the interview! Congrats on the win yesterday!
Young : Thank you man! Thank you a lot! I appreciate it.
Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Usama Young. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below! Please check out my website https://prointerviews.org/ for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please subscribe and add me on YouTube at http://youtube.com/ProInterviews/ Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more!