SOTT Interview: Xavier Brewer, Clemson
“You can’t help but think about the draft coming up. Have to take it one day at a time. You have to do everything you can to get ready for this upcoming weekend.”
Xavier Brewer, Defensive Back , Clemson
Xavier Brewer came from one of the more storied programs in college football, Clemson University. He has always had football in his blood. His father played for the Denver Broncos while his brother played for the San Francisco 49ers. As far back as he can remember, Brewer knew he was shooting for the NFL.
Brewer graduated from Clemson with a degree in Psychology in May, which is one of his proudest moments as a student-athlete at Death Valley. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Brewer has much appreciation for his home state and he attended Bartram Trail High School where he flourished and was invited to the ESPN/Under Armour All American Game in 2008. He chose Clemson over Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL) and Notre Dame.
He became a starter in 2010 and was an important part of the Clemson defense for the next three seasons, that included a position change from cornerback to safety. We had the chance to talk to Brewer about his draft preparation time at Death Valley and his thoughts about the upcoming NFL draft.
Tale of the Tape
Weight: 192 lbs.
Bench at 225 lbs: 21 reps.
Thoughts on the ACC and Clemson
What did playing in the ACC do for you as a player and who are some competitors that have stuck out in your mind:
“Torrey Smith, Cam Newton, Tavon Austin were some of the ones that stuck out in my mind. Plenty of people over look the speed in the ACC and the competition level every week.”
Going to one of the top schools in the nation when it comes to football, talk to us about this past season at Clemson:
“Death Valley was one of the best experiences in my life. Growing up in Florida, all I knew was Florida, Florida State and Miami. One of my teammates from high school committed there and when I went to visit Coach (Dabo) Swinney was my recruiting coordinator at the time and he ended up getting the head coaching job my first season at Clemson. Then he went and turned the whole program around and it was great to have a coach who cared about you more than just being a football player, he wanted to see you graduate. There are no fans like the ones in Death Valley.”
What about the talent that was with you at Clemson this past season:
“To this day, I still don’t feel like I ever faced anyone better than what I faced at practice everyday. It just made me better everyday going against Sammy Watkins, Nuk (De’Andre) Hopkins, Tahj (Boyd), Andre Ellington and all those guys. We have young guys who are going to be great receivers coming up. It has been a blessing to go against guys like them to prepare me for the next level.”
How important was it to you to be named Co-Captain your last year at Clemson by your teammates:
“I think it was very important. I am a guy who is a vocal leader as well as one who leads by example on the field. It was definitely a great honor when my teammates voted me to be a captain. Obviously, they saw something in me that they looked up to and hopefully I can carry that to the next level.”
What did Coach Dabo Swinney do for you at Clemson:
“He cares for you more than being a football player. He wants to see you graduate, be a better man, a good father later on in life and he expects everyone to come back and visit Clemson. He practices what he preaches and we all follow his example. Definitely thankful to have him as my coach and I know I can call him at any time.”
On preparation for the NFL
You were invited to the East-West Shrine game. Can you talk to us about that experience:
“It was a great honor and the main reason we were there was for the Schriner’s hospital. It was a blessing to put smiles on those kids’ faces and you know those kids are going through alot of things that we don’t have to think about everyday like they do. That was a really cool experience visiting the hospital. Also, being able to play against some of the top competition in the country was also a really good experience. All of the scouts there watching you added pressure and helped me get ready for what I am preparing for these next couple weeks.”
Talk to us about your preparation for the NFL:
“For the first three months, I prepared for the Clemson Pro Day. Since I didn’t get a combine invite, I went down to train with Tony Villani in South Florida at XPE. I was trying to get as fast as I could and get as crisp as I could in position drills. Unfortunately, I pulled my hamstring before my pro day. I was 100% healed but then I pulled it again at my pro day. It was disappointing knowing I didn’t post times as fast as I know I was capable of but it was only a small part of the process and I know my game film plays a big part into my future. After that happened, I had to get my hamstring healthy and get into football shape for the upcoming mini-camp.”
Did your hamstring injury deter teams from you:
“I have never had an injury throughout my whole college career so that was the most frustrating thing about it. Alot of teams said they just wanted to see me again and I was able to be at a later workout day in the month of April with Andre Ellington (who also had a hamstring injury) but I was not completely healthy. I don’t know if it deters teams or not but I am getting healthy for mini-camp and I know an NFL team is going to get a good player.”
Who are some guys who have influenced you since you started training for the NFL:
“There have been plenty and when I started training in South Florida, Cris Carter has been there. My trainer Tony Villani and Coach Bill Parcells came down there to talk to me. Alot of NFL players came down to train with us, Eric Berry (Chiefs) Stephon Gilmore (Bills), Coty Sensabaugh (Titans) and Marcus Gilchrist (Chargers) and those guys shared knowledge of the process to getting to the NFL and getting ready for football.”
What is it like to see two teammates at Clemson in Sensabaugh and Gilchrist in the NFL and how have they helped you get ready:
“I was talking to both of them last year about their preparation in getting ready for the draft because I knew I was going to be in the same position. It came fast but they have helped and it has been a fun process.”
On the upcoming NFL draft and his future
What do you feel more comfortable playing, cornerback or safety:
“Corner, it was what I played mostly in high school and the majority of my college career. I didn’t start playing safety until my junior year. They put me there in the middle of the season and I was able to make some plays there. I see myself as a defensive back and will be where the coach wants to put me.”
What are your strengths on the football field:
“My versatility in being able to play corner, safety or nickle. I think that is my biggest one.”
What teams have showed the most interest and what goes through your head knowing these teams are interested in you:
“The Texans recently called me. Vikings, Saints, Rams, Falcons and Dolphins have also called. It’s a good feeling and something I have dreamed about since I was a little kid wanting to play football. To have these teams call me is an honor in itself. When I talked to the Dolphins, they were asking me about my hamstring and if I was ok, and they also let me know they are expecting to see me in their camp. It really shocked me to hear that from the Dolphins, and hearing that motivated me to go even harder.”
How special would it be to stay close and get an opportunity with the Dolphins:
“It would be really special to stay in the state of Florida so my family could see me, but I would be happy with any of the other 31 teams also.”
The draft is approaching and by next week you can be on an NFL team. How are you handling that:
“You can’t help but think about the draft coming up. Have to take it one day at a time. You have to do everything you can to get ready for this upcoming weekend. One of my old teammates told me that the draft is going to be the worst and best day of your life. It is the worst day waiting for that phone call, and when you get that call it turns into the best day of your life.”
Do you have a feeling that you could be drafted:
“I felt that I was going to be undrafted but I have been getting flooded with phone calls confirming my phone number and basic information. I have a feeling that it may be a possibility I can get drafted but, if not, going undrafted could be good too with me picking the best situation for me to make an NFL roster.”
What can an NFL team expect from you when you make it to their mini-camp:
“They can expect someone who can come in and be put anywhere in the secondary. Someone who is going to put in that extra time in the film room. I know from experience and people I have talked to that in the NFL everyone is the same speed, and what separates you at that next level is the knowledge of the game. I am going to be that guy who is going to do whatever it takes to know the whole defenses, and offenses too.”
A special thanks goes out to Xavier Brewer for taking time and sitting down with us for this interview.