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JayVeon Cardwell Q&A: On Mike Gundy, Choosing the Big 12 and Why He Loves Coach Duffie



JayVeon Cardwell is Oklahoma State’s fifth-highest recruit in the class of 2018 and its second-highest ranked defensive player behind Sean Michael Flanagan. We talked to him about what he’s looking forward to about OSU, what he’s working on these days and how his relationships have developed over the past few months.

Kyle Porter also contributed to this post.

Phillip Slavin: What made you choose Oklahoma State?

JayVeon Cardwell: Once I had the offer I wanted to commit. It was just, just being able to see the campus. So once I was able to see the campus I fell in love with it. I met Coach Gundy in person, I met Coach Duffie, my position coach in person. Everybody … related to me easily. Coach Gundy was very, very good on the coaching part on it, and the family, how that has carried on the tradition of OSU. It just played a major factor in me wanting to commit there as well.

Coach Duffie, that’s probably my mentor right there. He’s not too big on splashy type of players. He likes those types that go out there and get the job done. Work without having being told to. I really fell in love with that philosophy, and he’s a dirty worker. That’s how I was growing up. It added on to the appeal and I wanted to play for him and be coached by him.

PS: Why do you think more high school players don’t migrate to the Big 12? It seems like because it’s such a high-flying league in which there’s a ton of passing, it’s a good opportunity for a defensive back to kind of show off and show what you have. Why do you think some guys opt for Big Ten or SEC instead of the big 12?

JC: That was one of the reasons I wanted to come here was passing. At DB you’re going to get that opportunity you’re going to get the most balls thrown in this conference. That’s one of my biggest reasons for coming here to OSU.

I don’t really have an answer. I never really knew that reason. If you’re really trying to show that you can ball, I’d want to go to the Big 12 because that’s where all the passes are thrown. You have to be able to make plays when the ball is thrown to you. That’s always been my philosophy on it.

PS: What are you doing to prepare yourself this summer?

JC: I have a trainer, we work out four days a week. They had my workout program, so we go through different lifting, conditioning, things of that nature to keep my body in shape. It’s all during the week so, as far as keeping in shape.

I did track to help build my speed up so, I’m just trying to get ready for the college level.

PS: What are you specifically trying to improve on. Is it speed, is it agility, is it strength? What’s the area you feel like you need the most work on issue had to school?

JC: I’m working on getting bigger bigger for college. Strength for me … I have some, but it’s different when you go to the college level. It’s a whole new transition, a lot of bigger bodies are going to be around you. I’m getting stronger in the weight room and the results have paid off so far.

PS: Is there anything coach Duffie is having you working on specifically?

JC: No. nothing specific just for me. As far as me just working out on my own, just working to get better at whatever I can get better at, I’m doing as well. Just putting the time in.

PS: What was your impression of Coach Gundy?

JC: He doesn’t refer to all the spotlight that he gets. A really humble person. His thing is family, that’s what he depends on. Showing respect to everyone. He was just a great guy, he was very respectful to me. He tells you what he wants out of you, and he gets it from his players. He’s easy to talk to. I saw some college players just having a regular conversation with him. He’s just a very easy guy to open up to. And very outgoing.

PS: What do you think you can bring to the cornerback position and the team as a whole next season?

JC: At cornerback. I just want to prove myself. Put my will in. I want to be really physical at the line, hands on. I want to be able to play off as well. Show that I’m able to play man coverage against the Big 12 receivers that we have. As far as the team, being a leader, leading by example. Just try to know my position and my people at my position on the squad. I just want to be a leader. Impactful, talkative. Just make myself known to the players that I’m here to play. Just want to make my name be known around campus.

PS: Have you had a chance to talk to the other incoming players?

JC: I’ve talked to Tanner McCalister, and Gabe Lemons. I’ve talked to all of them. You know, we have our group chat. I’ve talked to some veterans who are there. You know, AJ Green, (Rodarius) Williams, I’ve talked to all of them. They’re all looking forward to getting into their role, and contributing to this team as well.

The closest person I’ve gotten to is probably Gabe. He’s in Dallas. I talked to him on the regular, he’s a really cool guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is my roommate. I think he will be. Tanner he just decommitted from Arkansas, and he’s going to play here it’s going to be great to play with him as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what me and him can do together in the backfield. There’s a lot of players that I’m really excited to see and play with on the field.

PS: What are you going to miss most about high school?

JC: Friends. Relationships that I’ve had with people that I’ve known since I was a kid.  It’s going to be different. I’ve gotten to know my teammates from the commitment that we’ve had. It’s going to be an easy adjustment to me, just to adapt to the different environment that I’m about to go in.

PS: You wore No. 3 in high school, why did you wear three and is that the number you’ll try and keep in college?

JC: I wore three based off my dad and my brother. They all wore No. 3 through high school. I just wanted to carry on that tradition for them by wearing it as well. For college I talked to them and they said I’ll most likely be wearing No. 6 this year. I think our quarterback is going to wear No. 3. No. 6 is nice as well but three was a number that I really fell in love with.

PS: Do you have a pretty good relationship with the guys already there, like AJ Green?

JC: Yeah. My official visit they showed me around. I was in the film room watching them break down what they did for one-on-ones. It was a really easy environment. Everyone is family around there, so there’s no weird feeling about being there at all.

PS: Did AJ Green or anyone give you any advice?

JC: He told me not to let the moment get to big for me. Think of it as just another football game you’re going to be playing in. Don’t let the environment make you nervous or nothing. Just go out there and play. It’s going to be different of course, but you can’t let that affect you, you just got to go out there and play the game that you know how to play.

PS: What are you most looking forward to doing when you get to campus?

JC: Honestly, it is football. I want to learn the system, I want to learn the routines the day as far as pregame, postgame. All of those things. It’s going to be huge for me to know what these guys go through, leading up to game days. As far as breaking down film and all that. It’s always really been interesting to me to see how these guys can play on the field, but also put the time into the film room as well. So I just want to see how that goes.

PS: What’s your opinion of the high school recruiting process? Do you like it do you dislike it and why?

JC:  It was a bit of both. You like getting the attention from some coaches, but at the same time it can get to the point where it’s pretty stressful to talk to every coach from every college. You just want to settle down some nights, and there’s always a coach who wants you to call them or something like that.

But at the same time it’s a grateful opportunity. I would never say that I dislike it, but I got a little tiring sometimes. It was an exciting process to get recruited. I showed out my junior year, and it paid off. I wasn’t really ready for that experience. It was a lot of fun though.

PS: What is the one uniform combination – helmet, jersey, pants – you most want to wear?

JC: It’s a tie. I love the all-white. I love the all-white helmet and the all-white uniforms. Especially, I’ve seen the orange top with the white pants and the throwback white helmet. That just looks amazing. Especially, I saw it on Marcell Ateman, and he looked really good in it. The players, just that uniform combination looks great on everyone.

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