What NFL player, past or present, do you model your game after?
"Shannon Sharpe. He was a great player and a great tight end. He was my same weight and build I am now. I took a mental picture of how he played and looked to model my game after his. Also, Ben Watson. I love how he plays, and how he carries himself on and off the field. He’s a great role model and has been a mentor to me. And Vernon Davis. I remember watching his whole combine and how he’s played in the NFL and really wanted to model myself after him."
How did you meet Browns Tight End Ben Watson?
"We both went to Georgia and we both met at a charity event while I was playing there and I wanted to meet him, so I went up and introduced myself and we talked and exchanged phone numbers and we’ve been in contact ever since."
What is your favorite football memory?
"Watching the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. I grew up in Tampa and seeing them win it was great. A lot of people said they couldn’t win it. Tony Dungy had been their coach, but he’d left. Just seeing them win it was really a great experience."
In college playing in the SEC, the best conference in college football, what school were you most excited to play?
"Oh, that’d have to be Florida. I grew up in Florida and went to high school there. People always asked me, ‘Orson, how could you leave the state of Florida and go to Georgia?’ I told them that I was comfortable with the situation at Georgia. When we got to that game, from there, it was do whatever it takes to get that win. It meant so much to me and I was so overwhelmed when we finally beat them, that my coaches had to carry me off the field."
What are your goals for your rookie season?
"I’m just working hard to make the 53-man roster. That, and contributing in anyway I can are my goals."
What are the teams’ expectations and goals heading into the 2012 season?
"Everyone on the team is just working to get better than they were last year. They’re working hard in the OTAs, the minicamps, the weight room, and the film room. That’s our goal; to keep getting better and improving from where we were last year."
About a week ago, you tweeted out your jersey number and how hard you’ve worked to reach this moment. How does it feel to finally be living your NFL Dreams?
"Ah man. When I saw that jersey, it was a dream come true. I saw it, and I almost cried. I wore that jersey for a long time and just reflected on my whole life, from little league, to high school, to college. Wearing that makes you put in even more work to stay in that uniform."
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and sharing with us and our readers these great stories. Good luck with the upcoming season and your future as a Cincinnati Bengal.
"Thank you for having me."