Q&A: Rock Ya-Sin has his own football journey

From Southwest DeKalb to Presbyterian to Temple to NFL

Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, a two-time state wrestling champ from Southwest DeKalb High, had a solid day at the NFL scouting combine Monday.

Ya-Sin, who played for Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and lifted 225 pounds 18 times on the bench press.

He had an explosive vertical jump of 39.5 inches.

Here’s what Ya-Sin said to the media Sunday before his workout:

On his arc from Southwest DeKalb High to Presbyterian to Temple: "I came into high school as a wrestler. I wrestled throughout high school. I started playing football in the 11th grade. So, I was a little under-recruited. I ended up having three offers. Presbyterian College, Hampton University and Tennessee State. I ultimately went with Presbyterian College. Played there for three years. They went to a non-scholarship conference. So, I transferred to Temple and I was immediately eligible. I played my senior year at Temple University."

On new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins (who was at Temple): "Coach Collins is a great coach, a great man. He made me into the player that I am today. He's a great man. I can't say enough about how I appreciate the time he spent with me and what he's taught me."

On his transfer from Presbyterian to Temple and earning a single-digit jersey number in less than two months on campus: "I just came in worked every day. I attacked everything that we were doing. Weight room, conditioning, mat drills or whatever we were doing, I attacked. I went hard and earned the respect of my teammates and my coaches. They voted for me to have a single digit."

On what that meant to him: "It was a great accomplishment because I know what it means to so many people. You've got guys that have been there for three or four years, grinding and putting the work in and they don't have a single digit (jersey number). I know what it means to me because I know what it means to so many other players."

On players he models his game after: "I watch a lot of the great corners, a lot of the great corners in the NFL, but I feel like we all have different body types and different athletic abilities. Different sizes and things like that. So it's kind of hard for me to mold my game after any one player."

On whether he's met with the Texans at the combine: "No, I met with the Texans at the Senior Bowl."

On the wrestling background: "Yes sir, I was a two-time state champion. I won state at 145 and 152."

On how wrestling has helped with playing football:  "Just the competitive nature of going out there and going against a guy. There are not excuses. You can't blame it on anybody: win, lose or draw. It's you versus another man."

On whether that helps with guarding a wide receiver: "It definitely helps. I take that same mentality in one-on-one (coverage) in man-to-man coverage against a receiver."

On whether he's met with the Falcons: "No sir, I have not."

On whether he met with the Falcons at the Senior Bowl: "No sir."

On whether he's more comfortable in man or zone: "In my career I've played man-to-man so I would say I'm more comfortable in man. I can play either, but I've played primarily man-to-man coverage in college."

On his strategy for guarding bigger wide receivers: "Just playing with good techniques. My feet and my eyes. Put my hands on guys at the line of scrimmage and win those 50-50 balls down the field."

On whether he'd prefer to get a game-winning pick-six at home or on the road: "At home to make the crowd go crazy. I love seeing the fans go crazy. I feel like we play for each other, the team and the coach, but we also play for the fans. They come out there in all kinds of crazy weather to watch us play. For them to go crazy feels great."

On best and worst things about playing press coverage: "I feel like there is not a worst part. The best part of it is to go out and being able to compete with a guy knowing that you have that guy with no help. It's you vs. him. I love that."

On whether he's met with the Chiefs: "I met with the Chiefs at the Senior Bowl."

On switching to football in high school: "I continued to wrestle, but in the spring of my sophomore year my wrestling coach had me go work out with the football team. Just lifting weights with them, then the football coach asked me to come out for spring ball."

On whether in Temple's scheme he did more step-kick or mirror-and-match techniques or both: "A little bit of both depending on who we are playing."

On what teams what to know during his interviews: "They've been very in-depth as far as technique, my film study habits, and just me as a person. They've been very in-depth."

On whether he's met with the Miami Dolphins: "Yea, I have."

On what he wanted to show teams: "My speed in the 40-yard dash and then the fluidity in my hips and the triple flip. Show them that I can play and back pedal. I can break on routes. I can drive up and catch the ball."

On how the Senior Bowl worked out for him: "I think it went well. It was a great learning experience. It was a great opportunity to compete with the best college players in the country. I think it went very well."

On whether he had a chip on his shoulder at the Senior Bowl: "I've always had a chip on shoulder from coming out of high school and not being heavily recruited. Going to Presbyterian College, the smallest FCS school in the country with 900 kids. So, I've always had a chip on my shoulders and I'm always going to have a chip on my shoulders. That's just me."

On how you transfer that onto the field: "I just work harder than everybody. I compete harder than everybody. I have to just go out and be me. I'm going to outwork the competition and try to win."

On how many hours he puts into the film room for a game: "Throughout the week by myself outside of team activities, at least 12 to 13 hours a week."

Rock Ya-Sin was a senior transfer from Presbyterian College and played one season for Temple and coach Geoff Collins, who was later name Georgia Tech's head coach (Photo: Temple).

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