Updated: Jan 18
Back in May, Toledo Rockets defensive end Tuzar Skipper attended Steelers rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, and left with a contract.
Joining fellow Rockets teammates Diontae Johnson (drafted in the third round) and Ola Adeniyi, Skipper can to further establish his name during this year's training camp in late July. Last season, Skipper was fifth in Mid-American Conference in sacks and named Third-team All-MAC.
In speaking with Skipper, we learned more about his ability to overcome adversity, his training regimen, and which current NFL players have helped mold his style of pass rushing.
Last season, you recorded 8.5 sacks, which is impressive considering you only had one in your first two years with Toledo. What was the key to your success last season?
Skipper: Key to my success last year was learning more about the game and my responsibilities during each play. I had to know if i was the force player or apart of the support. Plus learning new pass rush moves helped out big time.
In relation to your position on the defensive side, you're listed at defensive end, yet you also played at the Edge spot. Where do you believe you are most productive?
Skipper: To be honest you can put me almost anywhere and I’ll still be labeled as a productive player. But i do think being a rusher is lots of fun and a form of art at the same time
What attributes sets you apart from the drafted and undrafted players on the roster?
Skipper: What separates me from everyone else is probably self-motivation. I say that because I was overlooked and that alone is enough motivation for me.
Your sophomore year was cut short due to injury. Sitting out, I can imagine how difficult it that period was for you. How did you overcome and how did that period shape you as a player?
Skipper: It taught me a lot about patience. All good things come to those who wait. Plus I learned how to enjoy the process instead of hating the process. Hating it would only put negative thoughts in my head and i didn’t want that to happen because i love playing football so staying positive and patience was really to the two big things for me.
As you know, Steelers training camp is in less than five weeks. What is your training regimen like this summer?
Skipper: Cardio cardio and more cardio along with staying strong is the name of the game. Have to come back in the best shape of my life in order to give myself a chance.
Is there a particular NFL player(s) through which you have mold your style of rushing the passer?
Skipper: I try to be fast and flexible as Von Miller but as strong as Aaron Donald.
Last year, your former teammate Ola Adeniyi was in your spot and became a training camp sensation. In what ways do you believe you'll standout during training camp?
Skipper: Learning more about the game and my responsibilities during each play. I had to know if i was the force player or apart of the support. Plus learning new pass rush moves helped out big time.