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The most meaningful growth often comes in leaps and bounds when you match it up with hard work. I feel like I have grown so much in between last year and where we are at the end of this season. As I finished my rookie year, people were tossing around that “bust” word a lot. I’ll be honest with you guys, I didn’t have the year I wanted last year and I was determined I was not going to let it happen again.
The first thing I knew I had to do was to cut some weight and get in better shape. In college, my weight was a huge advantage. I was bigger than almost any other safety in the country, so it was easy for me to overpower my opponents. Once I got to the next level I realized that I may be a big safety, but everyone was suddenly faster. I had to get lighter on my feet. I focused on my diet and working out constantly. I was able to shed 10 pounds while still keeping my power. Losing that weight has allowed me to turn and run with receivers and tight ends.
I think one of the biggest leaps from last year to this year has been my comfortability in our defensive system. Everything changed for me as I went from the Tide to the Giants: my teammates, my role, our system. It was a lot to process in a short amount of time. As this year started, I had a year of experience under my belt. That experience allows me to not have to think as much on the field and I can naturally react to what I see the offense doing. That level of comfort means I can be more aggressive when I see the offense make a mistake and that gives me an opening to make the big play. Big plays have come in bunches for me this year.
My brothers here on the Giants have done an awesome job of pushing me to keep growing as a player. Things have come together for me and I got my first Pro Bowl selection this week. I never expected for that to happen this early in my career, so I am certainly appreciative of the opportunity to represent myself and the Giants. I am so thankful to have reached one of the biggest goals that I have set for my career. Now it is on set reach more goals as we push towards the postseason.