Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camp Keepers: Jake Muasau, LB, New York Giants by Damond Talbot on Jun 22, 2012 12:32 PM EDT in 2012 NFL Draft

Jake Muasau has not always had an easy road ahead of him, but the 6’1, 243 pound Samoan who has long hair like Troy Polamalu is continuing to make huge strides in his life. Born in Tacoma, Washington to a family of Samoan immigrants, Jake’s parents came to the U.S. in search of a better life. Jake would spend the early part of his childhood in Los Angeles, California before moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Jake played both Safety and Wide Receiver in High School at Buena High School. Jake and his brother Louie who is a year older, both began playing football in their freshman year of high school. Louie had quite a bit of looks from Division 1 football teams, before getting hurt his senior year. When Louie sustained his injury he lost his scholarships, and Jake began hanging around the wrong crowd, and his grades began to drop. Louie enrolled at Phoenix College, and it wouldn’t be long that because of Jake’s grades he would soon follow. Jake had offers from Division 1 schools but his SAT score wasn’t were the schools wanted it to be. Jake went to Phoenix College to play again with his brother before they were both given scholarships to play for Georgia State.

Both Jake and Louie excelled at Georgia State where both lined up at the linebacker position and talk their native language to disrupt the players on the other side of the ball. Jake is Georgia State's career leader in tackles for loss (16.5) and interceptions (3), along with 106 career tackles, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. Jake was the top playmaker on the Georgia State defense in the Panthers' first two seasons. Jake was voted by his teammates as GSU's Most Valuable Defensive Player for 2010 and 2011. Plays the hybrid outside linebacker position known as Bandit in the GSU scheme, and is now being used as a Linebacker for the New York Giants. Since most of the fans wanted to know more about Jake, I figured I would ask him some personal questions before we go into Camp Keepers, so you can hear more from Jake since this is his first time on Mocking the Draft.

What is your favorite genre of Music?

I would have to say Reggae or Gospel music, I listen to both of them a ton. I love getting my spirits flowing.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I always watch the video from Any Given Sunday on Al Pacino’s speech. Before every game, I am always going to watch that video. I also have to listen to Reggae Music and pray before I go into the game. It helps me stay focused.

What does your brother Louie think of you making it to the NFL?

He is really excited for me, he still has one year left of eligibility, but because of injuries he will not be able to play his senior year. Both my brothers Matt and Louie have been great, and do a great job at keeping me humble.

What was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened in your life?

I would have to say when my brother and I were in a group home, and we received a phone call from our Aunt telling us our father had passed away. Our oldest brother was incarcerated in Arizona, and my mother was struggling with health issues, and then to add to that Aunt called to tell us that our Father passed. It was definitely the hardest part of my life, and it is when I really began to focus on the bigger picture.

If you found a genie lamp and could get three wishes, what would they be?

I would say to see my Father once again, and see his reaction to how life has been, because we share the same birthday, and I miss him a lot. The second wish would be able to provide for my mother who has always done her best to provide for us, and the third wish to be able to give back to the community and be part of something bigger than football. Helping foundations and youth kids, I really want to help the kids not just in my community but around the world.

Who would you compare yourself to as a player in the NFL?

I am still trying to establish myself as a player, but I am still a UDFA. I have to establish myself first. They gave me number 43 so you know people are comparing me to Troy Polamalu because of my hair. We are both very spiritual and I hope I can live up to his skills; it is great to see people comparing me to him.

Take me to the draft, did you receive any calls?

No I didn’t, I didn’t receive a call from anybody, I watched the third day because I knew the Giants were interested in a Linebacker, but I didn’t get the call during the draft. So I left and went to my cousin's house for a BBQ.

Where were you when you answered the call from the New York Giants?

I was at my cousin’s house for a barbeque, and it was about an hour after the draft, I received a call from the Giants scout. I stepped in a secluded room to take the call, and he told me that I would be given a workout with them on a tryout basis. That is all I asked for, and I was so thankful for that. I stepped outside and told everyone to gather around. I told the family that I had a workout with the New York Giants and the family went nuts. They were so excited for me, I had a really emotional moment with my older brother.

What has been the biggest change so far from Georgia State to the New York Giants?

The biggest change has to be change of position, it is very different playing Mike. You have to worry about a lot more, but I like it. Louie my brother played Middle Linebacker, and I remember telling him about how much responsibility he had. It has been going really well though, I like it, I am the quarterback of the defense.

Who was the first person you signed an autograph for in a Giants uniform, and what did you sign?

It was the week after I signed, my mentor and my brother came to the city because none of us have ever been there before. While in the city, there was a guy who took pictures of you with any background. After taking a picture with my brother and mentor, we were able to choose a background. I asked the gentlemen if he had a New York Giants background for the picture, he told me that he actually just created one but he has never used it. It showed a picture of the Super Bowl Trophy and it was really nice. So I chose it, my mentor was bumping me to get me to tell him that I had just signed, but I didn’t want to just come out and be arrogant or say I am a Giant. So my mentor bumped me again and said, tell him, the man turned at me and said tell me what? So I told him I just signed with the New York Giants. The guy was a diehard fan, he was wearing an older New York Giants Red hat and you could tell he had it for a long time. He asked me to sign it, and as a player that was the first autograph I had signed for anybody as a Giant.

What is it like to be in a locker room with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants?

It is an amazing feeling, every day to go to work, to be in the same locker room with JPP, Eli Manning and Justin Tuck. I still get star struck sometimes, I look to my right and see JPP and Osi sitting there, it’s an amazing feeling. They are good genuine people, and it is a blessing to be around the some of the best players in the NFL.

Has there been any players that have kind of guided you so far in the OTA’s?

Chase Blackburn, he is a great guy, and a tremendous athlete. All the linebackers have really embraced me, but Chase has been very good and helpful. He sits with me in the meeting room; he will take the time to break it down if I have a question. He is one of the smartest guys in the locker room, and he has been very helpful, and is the first person I go to if I have a question.

Do you feel you have something to prove since you were an UDFA?

Most definitely, I have a big chip on my shoulder. Especially coming from a small school, I had to come out on a rookie tryout basis, but I am determined, and focused. I think the chip on my shoulder is a little bigger than others. I use it as motivation in everything I do, from sprints, to workouts to practice.

Where have you been lining up on the field, and are you playing special teams as well?

I have been lining up Middle Linebacker, and they starting moving me up on the depth chart on Special Teams. That is my number 1 goal, to make an impact on Special teams, I want to be depended on, and I cannot wait come preseason.

Who is the toughest player you have had to go up against so far in camp?

That is hard to say, because there is no contact, ask me that question after the first week of practice with pads, and I will let you know.

What player do you see as the vocal leader on the New York Giants defense, who is the guy that is getting people ready so far in camp?

There are a few that are pretty vocal, but if I was to say one player I would have to say Chase Blackburn again. He is so smart, he knows what everyone’s job is and he makes sure everyone is on the same page. He is a good player and a good person, he has been a huge help to me.

The Giants fans at Mocking the Draft have wanted an interview with you for a while, how does that make you feel?

Man, honestly I feel honored, because it is such is amazing feeling. I have done a few interviews during media day, but I didn’t know that my name has been flowing through Giants fans, and the community. I hope I can make you all happy and I want to be a Giant. It has been a great experience, and I would like to thank Mocking the Draft to help me get my story out there.

What would you tell other small school prospects who are coming out of school this year?

Don’t quit, I am a small school kid and I know I come from nowhere, but you can be anything you want to. I wasn’t given a contract I had to earn it, and as a small school player, you have to earn a lot of things. Believe in yourself though, and stay humble.

Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you develop the way you did, throughout college?

God, that is first and foremost, then my family, my mother, my oldest brothers and all my immediate family. My family has always been there with me, they are the ones that have been there to make sure I stay humble.

So now it is the real question, Jake is playing linebacker for the Super Bowl winning New York Giants, last year an undrafted wide receiver named Victor Cruz came out the wood work to become a huge asset for the Giants, do you think Jake could be the next big Diamond in the Rough for the G-Men? If he wants to make this squad he will have to compete with guys like Chase Blackburn, Mark Herzlich and others at the linebacker spot in Perry Fewell’s defense.

I would like to thank the Giants organization for setting up the interview w/ Jake and I wish Jake the best of luck with his experience in New York. The readers at Mocking the Draft are excited to have you in this article and are hoping to see big things from you this year.

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