Will McDonald IV, 4.28

[please click photo for link to the video]


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How did it feel walking through this building and now that you’re here, what’s it feeling like today?
I’m just taking it all in. Just still getting to know everybody. I am kind of already familiar and obviously, I got Breece (Hall) here and Allen (Lazard). I got my Cyclone boys and I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to learn and I’m happy to do my thing.

Connor Hughes, SNY: We saw Breece was part of the welcoming committee when you first arrived. What was that like?
We were already talking on the phone and everything. We were already waiting to link up with each other. We actually talked yesterday, before the draft at like 2:00 p.m. He was just telling me how proud he is of me and everything. Then once I got the call, he was actually on the phone with Coach (Matt) Campbell and I was like, “I’m going to the Jets! I’m going to be there, bro. It’s going to be me, you and Allen, bro, we’re going to be the Cyclone boys.” It was a blessing. Just taking that opportunity and I’m going to be able to be with my boys. Obviously, we got Jermaine (Johnson) here, so I can learn from all the vets and everybody. I’m just real proud of that.

Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: What’s the past 24 hours been like for you?
I haven’t taken it all in yet. I’m only running on like 45 minutes of sleep. It’s just an honor. I wasn’t expecting myself to be here six, seven years from now. Being able to show my family and friends that there is a way to do things and there is a way to reach your goals and everything. It’s showing my nieces and nephews and everybody that I’m able to change the course of my family and make everybody do as they please in everything that they want to do.

Brian Costello, New York Post: When did the NFL become kind of a realistic goal for you?
I’d probably say my sophomore year in college. It definitely shaped me, I was learning a lot of discipline and poise just being around the right people, not being around the wrong people. I was just taking in a lot of things. Obviously, my brother passed away that same year, too. I was just taking in a lot of things and just being the first of my family to graduate from a college. At the time I was a sophomore obviously, but I didn’t want to go back home empty handed and the only one that went to college and didn’t do anything with it. I think that year really shaped me, especially after my brother passing away. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t for nothing. I always wanted to have him see me do good.

Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How much was your brother on your mind yesterday?
A lot. He was able to see me do it. I hope he’s looking down right now seeing this. It’s a real blessing. It’s a real cool experience to be here and being with my boys and everything. I’m just glad that he’s able to get to see this opportunity.

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Being from Wisconsin, how cool will it be for you to play with Aaron Rodgers?
I’ve been scouting Aaron since 2008. It’s a real cool opportunity, just playing with somebody that’s been in the game for a long time. I’m sure when I see him, I’m asking him rapid questions, like ‘What do you do? How do you move? How do you operate? How can I learn from you?’ Just having him here, it’s definitely a big help. Obviously, I got Allen and Breece here, I’m asking them for a lot of advice, I’m making sure that I’m going through this process the right way.

Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: I saw a story from when you first started playing football in high school that when you were on the field, you didn’t even know what the goal posts were. Do you think back to those days a little bit when you have this moment?
Yeah, I didn’t. I definitely do, I literally didn’t know anything about football. Couldn’t tell you a tackle from a guard or anything. Coach just had me go out there. He asked me if I could catch first, I’m like, “I mean, yeah.” I was a receiver for one point and at one point at practice he lined me up against our first-string tackle and I relied on my basketball skills, hit bro with a little Euro step, end up getting past him. We just figured out I was a pass rusher. In that first year, I got my scholarship and as soon as I got the scholarship from Coach Campbell, I immediately accepted it because it was a chance of me going to college and getting my education.

Connor Hughes, SNY: For someone who just recently picked it up, when you started playing football, what was like ‘This is awesome.’ What made you love it?
It gave me an opportunity, a life. I was able to change my path from going to the Army and then being the number one draft pick. It definitely changed my life, it showed me a lot of discipline and poise, the types of moments. Football can teach you a lot of things in life that you can learn from. So, it’s just changing my life in that aspect.

Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: How does having a basketball background help you as a pass rusher?
Just for quickness, balance, hand-eye coordination. Not only basketball, I did jiu-jitsu, I wrestled, I know how to ride a unicycle, skateboarding, soccer, just all of that. Balance, hand-eye coordination, foot work and then watching Von Miller and them, Maxx Crosby, (Nick and Joey) Bosa, (TJ and JJ) Watt, Aaron Donald, all of them. They’re all smooth and smooth is fast. I kind of just put all of that together and I kind of just make the versatile player that I am.

Connor Hughes, SNY: The unicycle? Did you randomly decide to just give this a shot?
My dad bought it for me when I was little. He wanted to see if we can do it, if we can ride it. Me and my brother were out there all day, practicing and riding the unicycle. I actually had my unicycle in the back of my car all throughout high school because I was just riding it at some points like it was normal. He ended up getting that. My dad put me through a lot of sports and it was a real cool opportunity. I would probably say unicycle is definitely one of my favorites.

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You mentioned Army, were you close to going to the Army? Is that what you said?
That was my main plan if I didn’t go to college or if I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. Luckily, I was able to get a scholarship to Iowa State and lead a different path.

Andy Vasquez, The Athletic: Obviously, draft projections can be all over the place, so heading into yesterday, where did you think you might go and were you surprised when the Jets called you at 15?
A little bit. I feel like I probably could have been projected between maybe early 20s throughout the last pick. Maybe early in the second round, but Coach called me and I was just honored to get the call. I was just happy that they took a chance on me and now I’m here and I’m going to try to do my thing for everybody.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Coach (Robert) Saleh last night was talking about your ability to get the ball out and create fumbles. What’s kind of the key to that for you?
Just balance, looking at your keys and hand-eye coordination. Everything I did with jiu-jitsu, basketball and wrestling, I take everything to the field. I’m not just out there trying to tackle people. I’m trying to get the ball out, I’m trying to score a touchdown. I’m using all of that in one category. I feel like I have a big advantage on that towards other people, but I just try to be the versatile player I can be for my team.

Connor Hughes, SNY: When it comes to those forced fumbles, that’s something a lot of people praised you for. Is that something you’ve worked on, is that something you train, is that your basketball background that helps you, jiu jitsu? I mean, what leads to it?
Just training, I’m always running the hoop. Just doing drills and actually paying attention to the details. You don’t want to just go run out there and just be doing your job, you kind of want to be spectacular at it, so you can make plays. You don’t just be another body out there. Just working on those things throughout all these years definitely paid off.

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You mentioned you thought you were a receiver at first, but did you play other positions before finally becoming a pass rusher? Or was it receiver then pass rusher?
It was just a receiver and then a pass rusher. That was about it. That was my whole journey. I didn’t really have too much in me, I did score a couple touchdowns though in high school, which was really the highlight of my whole career. It was a pretty cool experience.

Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: When did you start trying to jump over cars?
To be honest, this one time, I was coming out of my home boy’s crib and I saw a sedan right there. There was like a whole space to it and I’m just like, ‘Let me try to see if I can jump over this car.’ It wasn’t even anything I was thinking about, I have ADHD, so I’m just doing a lot of things. I would never do anything that I think my body’s not capable of doing. I definitely feel like my body’s capable of jumping over a car, so I was like, ‘Let me just try.’ I ended up jumping over that one and the next one, I was at the TCU championship game. I was on the way to my car, I was already jumping over the metal things they have up between the drive ways. I was jumping over those and then I already had an SUV, it was like a Mazda, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to have to try it.’ I started running up to the car and was like, ‘You know, I definitely feel like I can do this.’ Thirty seconds later, I’m already jumping over a car and then just doing parkour and jumping off, doing back flips. Me and my brother used to go to the parks and just jump off big swings and do two, three back flips in a row. It’s just doing a whole bunch of nonsense. I feel like that played into my ability to be a pass rusher.


Connor Hughes, SNY: So, you jumped over the car and then you jumped over an SUV. What is the line?
The next thing I’m going to be jumping over is tackles, you’ll see.

Connor Hughes, SNY: (Follow-Up) Are you jumping over Mekhi Becton?
I’m going to have to. I’m officially retired from jumping over cars.

Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: You mentioned your brother, I read a story about you having a chain with his picture on it. Do you still have that and if you do, did you wear it last night?
I didn’t wear it last night, but he’s always in my wallet. I have a picture of him in my wallet. I’m glad that he was able to see me get this opportunity. I know he wasn’t here physically, but I know that spiritually he was here with me. I just hope he’s still watching.

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: With your weight, are you 238 now?
No, I’m around like 240. Just being on all the visits, I did lose a lot of weight. Just being on all the planes and everything. As I’ve been back home, I’ve been working on eating. I am trying to get to about 250, that’s my goal. I think a couple more weeks, I will reach that goal. That’s going to be my goal.

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: How do you balance keeping your great speed and quickness and not gaining too much weight that could take away from that?
I feel like my body can kind of adapt to it. I came into college at like 200 pounds and now, I’m 240. I’m still able to adapt to speed and I feel like it’s not going to be a big issue at all.