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March 25, 2014
Signee Q&A: Rika Levi
Levi is profiled below in the latest installment of our signee Q&A feature which we are running on all of the members of the Red Raiders' 2014 signing class.
Thoughts and opinions:
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME?
"It would probably be between Reggie White or John Randall."
WHAT IS THE BEST FOOTBALL TEAM THAT YOU'VE EVER SEEN, IN PERSON OR ON TELEVISION?
"The 49ers. The '94 49ers, that was the year I was born and that was the year they won the Super Bowl."
An up-close and personal look:
YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM YOUR FOOTBALL CAREER?
"I got 4.5 sacks in one game in junior college."
DID YOU EVER HAVE AN EMBARASSING MOMENT PLAYING FOOTBALL?
"I don't think so. I can't remember."
DO YOU HAVE A PREGAME RITUAL?
"The way I wear my socks. Whatever I wear for the first game has to be the same socks I wear for the rest of the season. I always get my wrists taped."
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THAT YOU HAD THE POTENTIAL TO BE A DIVISION I FOOTBALL PLAYER?
"Junior year when I went to the Nike Combine and I had a good testing and they asked me if I got invited to the Stanford combine. They invited me there and I was nervous. We did one on one drills with some big named guys. We went one on one against the o-linemen and I won most of my one on ones and I got a lot of attention after that. I went on to play in an All-State game. That's when I realized I could really do something. I could really go D-1 if I put my head to it."
Thoughts on Texas Tech:
WHAT POSITION WILL YOU BE PLAYING AT TECH?
ARE YOU EXPECTING TO REDSHIRT YOUR FIRST SEASON ON-CAMPUS?
WHAT IS A PERSONAL STRENGTH THAT YOU WILL BRING TO THE TABLE AT TECH?
"A family mentality. When I play on a team I really want to feel like every game that I come out I am playing for people I care about. People that I am willing to go to bat for. I mean most football players should have that mentality. I take it personal if we get disrespected as a unit, especially as a defense. I mean as a whole team, I get that concept of being a family as a whole team but at the same time as a defense I feel like we should be a tight knit group and all do our job at the same time and when I come in I hope to have that effect on the defense."
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU NEED TO WORK IN ORDER TO PLAY AT THE NEXT LEVEL?
"Pad level. Sometimes I come off kinda high and I use my strength to make up for that. I need to work on that if I want to be consistent as I want to be. I wanna get more flexible and be more consistent with my hand placement."
HOW OFTEN DO YOU WORK OUT AND WHAT IS YOUR ROUTINE?
"I workout six days a week. Every morning during the weekdays, Mondays and Wednesdays are lifting days in the weight room. Tuesdays and Thursdays are field days. Plyometrics. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do plyos. I run 3 miles. On Friday morning I try to get in two miles. On Mondays after weight lifting and going to class all day, I go to practice with my JUCO football team."
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
"Play basketball. Spend time with my family. Cook, BBQ."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?
DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME?
"Nah. People call me Sosa but that's just between me and my boys."
HAVE YOU DECIDED ON WHAT YOU WANT TO MAJOR IN AT TECH?
"I wanna go into counseling. I don't know the specific major but I know that I wanna be like a high school counselor. I wanna help the inner city youth. The troubled teens that come from poverty and bad backgrounds."
HAVE YOU MET ALL OF THE ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS TO ENROLL AT TECH?
"Yes. Right now all I have to do is pass my classes that I am in and once I pass those classes Ill be fine."
A look at the recruiting process:
WHAT ONE THING WAS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN YOUR DECISION?
"The coaching stuff. The way they interacted with me. The way they interacted with each other. I got that family vibe. It's the same thing at my junior college. They really reminded me of the school that Im coming from now. They are always together, always chumming it up, always laughing. Foolin around just like a family would. Just like brothers or siblings would. That's the type of environment that I want to be in. I feel like that's the best environment for a football team when you can trust each other and rely on each other."
IS THERE A TECH COACH THAT YOU FEEL ESPECIALLY CLOSE TO?
"Coach (John) Scott and coach (Lee) Hays. Those two guys are probably the most that I've talked to. They are really laid back, cool guys. Coach Scott understand because he played d-line, and coach Hays is one of those upbeat, up tempo guys that's why I can relate to the both of them. They are always bouncing around, and they are always like a live wire."
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT DURING THE PROCESS?
"The worst part of the process, it was like a bittersweet part for me, would've been choosing a school. Which school I had to choose. There are just so many schools that are coming after you. You've only been there one time and you have to base your decision off that. You hear so much from everywhere else and when you see it for yourself you see that its not what they say it is. You know I've seen it for myself. With Texas Tech, I've seen the opposite of what people have seen from home. At home people are like Texas Tech is a small school but in actuality it's not. They just don't know. I've seen it, I've seen how big it is in Texas. Getting recruitment from other schools, at first I'm like 'Oh Oregon is bigger than Texas' in my head that was all I was thinking. That's what everyone was telling me. Oregon was bigger than Texas, Miami is bigger than Texas. But when I really thought about it, and when I met with the coaches, I was like man, I'd choose Texas still even if people said it wasn't bigger because I met with the coaches and the vibes I got from meeting with the coaches, and the vibes I was getting from the coaches, it wasn't what people gave off. That was probably the hardest part for me, trying to make the smart decision was really stressful for me and my family."
WHAT WAS THE WORST PART ABOUT THE PROCESS?
"The interviews. There were just so many. Everybody wanted to interview you. Having to always keep in contact with the coaches too."
DID YOU MAKE FRIENDS WITH ANY CURRENT PLAYERS AT TECH OR INCOMING FRESHMEN DURING THE PROCESS?
"I got to know Sadale (Foster), Will Smith, and Bruce (Jones)."
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR OFFICIAL VISIT TO TECH?
"The food. The food was great. We went to B.J.'s, and we ate a lot over there. We went to go eat up in the press box and it was like a restaurant and the food that was up there was all buffet style. There were like four main (meals). I was like damn, I didn't know Texas Tech got fed like that. They had all types of food. They were like feeding me non-stop and were like feeding me every hour and I was like damn man, I'm not even hungry anymore. They made sure I wasn't hungry the whole trip. They were always feeding me. It was a little weird. I'm not used to eating so much. Like one day, we had like six big meals, and I was like damn."
WHAT SCHOOL WOULD YOU HAVE CHOSEN IF YOU HADN'T SIGNED WITH THE RED RAIDERS?
The future and goals:
WHAT NUMBER WOULD YOU LIKE TO WEAR AT TECH?
"Number 99 or 8. I've always wanted to be a single digit number. Wearing No. 8 would be tight. But if not No. 8, then definitely No. 99. I wore 99 in Junior College, and I really left a mark at my junior college wearing No. 99. Now my little brother is starting to remember games like really good and he likes the No. 99. He's only three but it's like his favorite number now. My little brother really wants me to wear No. 99 when I get to Tech."
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL GOAL FOR THIS SEASON?
"To really help Texas Tech to get to that state where they are respected. I feel like in the Big 12, they don't get the respect they deserve as an offense or as a defense. I feel like if we come in as a defense and we can click, we can develop a flow to where like everything is robotic, we don't have to think about what we are doing while we are doing it. It just happens that way. Everyone is doing their job and one of us is going to make a play. It doesn't matter who just as long as one of us makes a play. The real team defense. That's my philosophy. That's what I want to do. I don't care what they think about me, just as long as they respect our defense."
WHEN WILL YOU ARRIVE IN LUBBOCK FOR GOOD?
"In the beginning of June. I don't really know when. I'm sure it's like the second week of June. I know Texas Tech has to wait for my grades to be posted. Once those grades are published, I am on a plane."