One on one with Kyle Nunn
Gamecock Anthem: You went through a lot of different things -- coaching changes, the injury -- in your time at South Carolina. What would you say was the biggest thing you learned about yourself in your time there?
Kyle Nunn: I definitely found myself in the five years that I was there. I learned the hard way my first couple of years, and I had a couple of the older guys that kind of took me under their wing and showed me what to do and what not to do with academics and also on the field.
GA: What was it like having three different o-line coaches during your time at South Carolina?
KN: It was definitely a gradual slope with Coach (Shawn) Elliott being the best of the three from my point of view, and I think our record and our stats reflected that both in rushing yardage and sacks allowed. Coach (John) Hunt, I enjoyed him -- he was a good guy -- but some of his schemes were definitely different than (Eric) Wolford's coming in. Between Wolford and Elliott, their schemes were a lot more similar in the run game and a lot more simplified with Elliott. But the transition was good and I think we ended up with the best of the three in my last couple of years there.
GA: How much would you say you developed as a player from the moment you stepped on campus until now?
KN: I gained weight and got stronger. I came in at about 270. The transition wasn't as easy as I thought it would be coming out of high school. I was expecting to come in and compete for playing time but it was obvious my first couple of years that I had some growing to do. It was definitely an experience for me.
GA: What did you learn from making that transition to college that you can apply to transitioning to the NFL game?
KN: What you've got to do is try to absorb everything that people are telling you. It definitely helps to have your eyes and ears open to everything that is going on around you. It kind of helps you adapt to all of the changes, and I think I lacked that my first couple of years of college. I wasn't open to all the new ideas. I had a pretty good o-line coach at Sumter High School, Chris Seaborn, and he did a good job of making sure we all knew what we needed to do, and when I got to college they didn't really take as much time as I thought they would -- they don't really baby as much when you get to college, and I think that will be even more so when you make the step to the next level. You're going to have to learn some on your own or you're not going to learn at all and you'll be thrown to the side.
GA:Was there a favorite moment during your time at South Carolina?
KN: I enjoyed my whole time at USC from start to finish. It was a little bit more enjoyable at the end when you get to play and get to do well for yourself. With getting to play in a championship, winning the SEC East last year and winning the Capital One Bowl this year, it definitely feels good to help the team be successful.
GA:You had a special connection to the Children's Chance charity, what was it like to get to experience that during your playing career at USC?
KN: My little brother had cancer growing up. He had Leukemia. That's actually how I started playing football, because I was getting in trouble at school because my grandfather had passed away from Leukemia and then a week later I found out my little brother had Leukemia. My brother is 14 now and doing fine but that's pretty much when I got my start playing football and I'm trying to give back as much as I can when it comes to Children's Chance. My mom's on the board for it now so I have as much involvement with it as I can. When I was younger we went to the Bowling with the Gamecocks event with my family and met former Gamecock Kalimba Edwards. It was special when I was able to participate in the 'Evening with the Gamecocks' event later from the other side as a player.
GA: How much has football helped you mature as a person?
KN: It's helped me in many ways. Early on in high school, I thought I was a hot shot because I was getting recruited by college teams. Going into my freshman year I kind of had that big head. But as a person I think I've changed in many ways and I think I've gotten to be a better person. Football has definitely helped me mature. Early on it was all about me but later on as I developed as a person with football it helped me in all aspects of life. My grades started coming up, my respect for other, and even my family life got better in my time at USC.
GA: You're playing in the all-star game on Feb. 4. What are you hoping to show scouts in that week of practice and at the game?
KN: Well, first I hope to show them at Dr. (Craig) Brigham from OrthoCarolina in Charlotte is a great doctor. He did a great job on my back. That's No. 1: I want to show them that I'm healthy and that he did a great job on me. No. 2: I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to be out there with all those elite athletes after the injury that I suffered this year. It's an honor for me and my family also. It's big for me to be able to show that I can go out here and can compete with these guys even after my surgery.
GA: You've been interviewed for five years at USC and even before that going through the recruiting process. Is there anything you've never been asked, that maybe you want everyone to know about you?
KN: I just want everybody to know that I'm a Gamecock and I'm always going to be a Gamecock for life. I'm going to do everything I can to support the university and represent them in the best way I can from here on out. And I hope that everybody has my back in doing so. I just want to represent the university to the best of my ability while I'm down there at the game and while I'm here training in Atlanta at Competitive Sports. I just want everybody to know that I want to represent them well as much as I want to represent myself well.
GA: The general consensus is that the program is on as solid footing as ever with 20 wins in the last two years. What does it mean to you to be part of that?
KN: Everybody has to start building somewhere and I believe that in our '07 class that I was a part of with me, and Stephen (Garcia), Cliff Matthews, Pat DiMarco and a few other starters, it was definitely the building blocks. I think that for the university the sky is the limit if everybody stays on board like the '07 class did. We came on board to do something different that had never been done there before and I think that over the past four or five years we've done that, mostly this year and the year before. But we set our minds and said that we were going to be a championship team and we won the East last year and we beat everybody in the East this year. I just hope everybody in the upcoming classes puts their minds to it, their bodies to it, and sticks to the plan throughout their careers and the university will be fine. The sky is the limit for the team in the next couple of years.
For more information on the Children's Chance charity please click here.