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"Big Players Make Big Plays" Q&A: Melvin Ingram

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A Q&A with first team All-American and All-SEC honoree, senior defensive lineman Melvin Ingram:

Brittany Lane: Many people have said you're the best overall athlete on the team. What do you think?

Melvin Ingram: Yeah, a lot of people say that to me, but I think there are a lot of athletes on this team, so I wouldn't just point myself out. There are a lot of tremendous athletes on the team.

BL: Another thing a lot of people talk about is your versatility, that you played so many different positions in high school and do so many different things on the field for Carolina.

MI: In my eyes it came from God, it was a blessing to be able to do other things. I also played basketball and baseball in high school. I've done a lot of things.

BL: Coming into this season there wasn't a lot of talk about you, even though you led the team in sacks last year. Did you feel like being overlooked a bit served as motivation for you?

MI: That's how I feel, but it wasn't really a motivation for me because I'm going to work hard no matter what. I feel like by them praising my teammates I felt like my name was included in that, even though it wasn't said. I work hard every day and help them get better and they help me get better. So if you praise one of us, you're praising all of us, because we're a family around here.

BL: When you're lined up, what's going through your mind?

MI: Just try to defeat my opponent in every aspect of the game. I want to defeat him in the mental reps and the physical reps, just overpower him and just be the best player I can be.

FB-11 Melvin Ingram vs. Georgia.jpeg

BL: What about when you come up with a big play, you've had several this year, like your two touchdowns against Georgia, for example.

MI: To be honest, I can't even remember. It's just excitement, trying to make a play. My dad always said that in big games, big players make big plays. If my team needs a play, I'm going to work as hard as I can to be the one to make that play.

BL: This team seems to have great chemistry. Is there anyone you're particularly close to?

MI: I wouldn't say I'm closer to one person more than another. I treat all my teammates the same. I'm close to all of them. I feel like all of us, we're brothers. We got a motto around here: "lay it on the line for the person beside you, because the person beside you is going to lay it on the line for you." So I feel like I'm close with all my teammates.

FB-11 Melvin Ingram and Travian Robertson.jpeg

BL: What is it about being on the defensive line? There seems to be a special bond there among that group.

MI: We bond together, one of our special things is our coach [defensive line coach Brad Lawing]. He teaches our "togetherness" -  it's either a team thing or nothing. If one person messes up, he punishes everyone so you won't want to mess up because you know you're going to make your teammates pay for it. That's how it is on D-Line. Coach Lawing plays the biggest role in that, it starts with him and goes with us.

BL: I've heard you're a bit of a prankster...what's the funniest thing you've done?

MI: I like to have fun [laughing]. I don't know, I've done a lot of stuff; hit people with water balloons, put baby powder in a teammate's shoes, just stuff like that, nothing too bad.

BL: What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Carolina?

MI: Just being here, going through all the experiences. Being at Carolina has been the best five years of my life. I've learned a lot of things from college, from common sense to people to school to football. It just has matured me and made me a better person.

Check out more on Melvin here as well as the videos below:

Melvin Ingram and the Gamecocks are taking on Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2. Tickets are still available. Click here and log in to purchase or call 800-4SC-FANS.

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