Found February 07, 2013 on NFL Draft Zone:
A.J. Klein needs no introduction to anyone paying attention. A monstrous 6/2 240+ pound LB from Iowa State, Klein plays the position the way it was intended- with fire and determination. After totaling 117 tackles as a senior (with 14 against West Virginia and 19 vs. Tulsa in the 2012 Liberty Bowl), Klein received an invite to the prestigious East/West Shrine Bowl, and later an invite to the Senior Bowl (which he explains he declined). Klein is everything you look for in a ‘backer, and is destined to be a top-100 choice in the 2013 NFL Draft. Shaun DePasquale: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today A.J. Can you tell me where you’re training for the NFL Draft? A.J. Klein: I’m currently in Pensacola Florida training at API at the Andrews Institute. SD: What do you feel are your strengths and things you may need to work on? AJ: I feel that I am a disciplined player who plays fast and aggressive, but also with great technique. I think I separate myself when it comes to studying the game and preparation. I think that I need to work on man to man coverage, mainly because at Iowa state we didn’t play many man coverage’s and when we did I was usually blitzing. SD: How do you feel your time at Iowa State helped you prepare for the NFL? AJ: It has helped me tremendously. Choosing to be an Iowa State Cyclone was the best decision I’ve made in my life. Not only did playing early as a freshman help my growth as a football player, but having a great coaching staff was a big part of my success at Iowa State. I give credit to Coach Wally Burnham for my development over the past years and I have a great amount of respect for him. He taught me how to study the game and what it takes to become one of the best. SD: What defensive scheme(s) or position(s) do you feel best suits your talents? AJ: While playing at Iowa State I played in a 4-3 scheme and actually have played all three positions sam, mike, and will with most experience at sam and mike. So I think for ease of transition I think I would fit best in a 4-3 scheme, but I would definitely not be opposed to playing in a 3-4. When it comes to picking a specific position I think I could adjust and play any position because I have already been exposed to all three. SD: What was the East/West Shrine experience like for you? AJ: It was a great experience having the opportunity to play in a game for a great cause as well as having a partial job interview. Had the chance to go to Shriners Hospital and meet the kids, which was a ton of fun, and I meet with a lot of scouts over the week to talk football. So a lot was accomplished in one week and I’m glad I decided to stay and play in the game after getting a Senior Bowl invite. SD: What active NFL player would you compare your skillset to? AJ: I don’t think I’m qualified to make that comparison, that’s for everyone else to decide. But I do enjoy watching certain players play. SD: Who was your role model growing up? AJ: I have so many role models in my family, but I most looked up to my older sister as I was growing up. When she was in college playing sports I was just finishing middle school and starting high school. I learned from a lot of her personal experiences with athletics and she has always been there when I need encouragement or advice on anything. SD: What has been your greatest accomplishment, athletically or personally ? AJ: My greatest accomplishment will be graduating from college next spring while maintaining a high gpa. I’m most proud of being a three-time first team all big 12 academic honoree. As well as earning two time first team all big 12 athletically and DPOY in 2011 and HM DPOY in 2012 SD: If you could have dinner with any 3 people, living or otherwise, who would they be and why? AJ: Jesus, because it’s Jesus. Isaac Newton because I would just like to have a conversation with him and pick his mind. That guy from Man vs. Food because everything he eats looks amazing. Plain and simple. SD: Give me the name of a teammate on Iowa State that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. AJ: Jeremy Reeves. Many say he is undersized to play cornerback at the next level, but he plays larger and harder than most. He is also one the most talented players I’ve played with or played against at that position. He deserves to be noticed. SD: What message would you like to send to NFL teams about A.J. Klein? AJ: That I’m a hard worker. Nothing has ever been handed to me and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be a difference maker. SD: Last question, what would be your first purchase with an NFL paycheck? AJ: I would say a truck, but I already have a car that is nice enough for me. Next on my list would be some new clothes. I could use an upgrade. SD: Thank you so much for your time A.J. Good luck in your journey! Please give A.J. a hello and a follow on Twitter @AJKlein47 . You can follow me on Twitter @ShaunDePasquale
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