Q: What was them reaction when the Patriots selected you?
TF: It was ecstatic. I was here with my family and everybody is proud. It was real happy, getting a lot of hugs and kisses. I'm proud to be part of the Patriots family.
Q: You were projected last year to go in the third round and you opted to go back to school for your senior year. What led you to your decision?
TF: [It was] just me not wanting to leave Arkansas losing. We kind of had a rough year going on last year and I just didn't want to leave that bad taste in the mouth. I wanted to come back and help turn the program around. I knew where the program was going under [head coach] Bret Bielema and the staff he put around us, so just my loyalty to that staff and to that team and that school. I also got a degree out of the deal so it was a win-win for me and I think I definitely made the right decision.
Q: You had a better year it appeared this year than last year and yet you were still graded as a third round potential pick. Was it disappointing when you were still available today?
TF: Not at all. Everything happens for a reason. God has his plan and I'm just here to follow it. I just trust in God's plan and I'm just a guy that says my prayers at night and then wakes up and goes to work. I don't get too into what round I go as long as I'm living out my dream as an NFL player. This always wanted to be my dream and I'm just happy to be living it now.
Q: What did Coach Bret Bielema do for your career?
TF: He is a guy that obviously, [is] a very consistent guy. He knows how to win. He sticks to his roots [and] he sticks to what he believes in. I think he's just the type of guy that's genuine and really loves his players and loves the outcome and really cares about his players. Just playing with a coach like that you obviously just want to win for him. He's got a tremendous pride in winning, you know he really cares about you and your wellbeing, not only on the field, but off the field. You really just want to win for him and do what's best for him. Playing under that guy, obviously he's got a lot of winning experience and he knows what it takes to win, so I learned a lot from him.
Q: From the outside it looks like you've jumped around and played some defensive end and some linebacker. How big of a point of pride is that for you to have some versatility?
TF: I think it does me very well to show that versatility on tape. That was one of the plans that when my defensive coordinator, Coach [Robb] Smith, he told me he's going to put me in the best position to make plays and he did just that. I'm glad I put that on tape.
Q: How much of that came up in your pre-draft conversations with the Patriots? It seems like they like those tweeners.
TF: Yeah, it came up a lot all around. There were calling me a tweener, linebacker, edge rusher, defensive end, and I'm just glad that I can show that versatility and just be open to any type of scheme whether it's 4-3, 3-4, whether it's standing up or hand in the dirt, I'm open to anything. I'm just glad I put that out on tape.
Q: What would you say your strengths are as a player?
TF: I've got to believe that they are stopping the run. It's just something I take pride in – just really being physical with the offensive linemen and setting point of attack and just really wanting to be dominant as far as putting the hands on them. When the time permits, say third down or a certain type of formation or a certain type of tendency appears, I can get after it with a good pass rush. I think just my all-around game and my understanding of the game, my understanding of formation and things like that; I think that will have to be one of my strengths.
Q: Scouting reports said that you play with a high motor and a lot of energy. Where does that fire come from with you?
TF: I think it just comes with the love of the game. Obviously I've been loving the game since I stepped foot on the field at seven years old. [I] just love the contact [and] love the passion and the energy that comes with it. [I] love the physical part of it. I just take myself to a place prior to the game or within the game and just take myself to an angry place and use that as fuel to kind of fuel my energy and fuel my passion. I actually grew up and fell in love with the game watching "[The] Waterboy" so I've got that visualizing the check mentality. He just taught me to go crazy out there so I just take myself to a place and just attack as you say.
Q: What's your favorite scene?
TF: It's got to be – I actually imitated this in middle school – he's playing middle linebacker and he's visualizing the quarterback saying something about his momma and he's walking around going crazy, walking in circles, and then he jumps over the offensive line and hits the quarterback. I think I tried to emulate that in high school and middle school and it worked out.
Q: Do you yell when you are chasing after the ball?
TF: Yeah, I actually did that in middle school one time. I hit somebody and did the little "Waterboy" shriek. I kind of have fun with it a lot.
Q: It helps if the quarterback thinks you are crazy.
TF: Yeah, it does.
Q: How do you make the mental transition from being the best guy on your defense for the last two years to going to a depth chart with three very highly paid defensive ends and a highly drafted defensive end? It will be difficult to earn playing time.
TF: I'm just proud to be a part of the team. I look at myself as a hard worker; I look at myself as a guy that no matter what the situation is or circumstance is I'm going to find a way to play football. I was put up in a similar situation maybe going into Arkansas and I just worked my way and kind of learning the playbook and learning things and stood my ground and earned my way into the starting spot. I just look at it as the same situation. I'm just looking to go there and help out the team as much as possible and just earn my way to a starting position.
Q: You completed your requirements for your degree?
TF: Yes, I graduated in December with an [economics] degree.
Q: So three and a half years?
TF: Yes, sir.
Q: How well do your know Jake Bequette from your time at Arkansas?
TF: He's a great mentor. I got there his last year. I just really learned a lot from him – learned how to study film, the importance of watching tape, the importance of technique and things like that. He talked to me a lot and he was one of the first to congratulate me as I got that call.