As he prepares for the 2015 NFL Draft, Missouri DE Markus Golden took the time to speak with us regarding his collegiate career, his Missouri teammates, what it felt like winning Citrus Bowl MVP and what he’s been doing to prepare for the 2015 NFL Draft:
All-Out Blitz: What do you feel has been the biggest difference between Missouri’s 5-7 season in 2012 and the team’s back-to-back double-digit win seasons and Bowl victories in ’13 and ’14?
Markus Golden: “The big difference I’ve seen has been, first just having confidence in myself and then in our coaches. We got back to just playing ball. The first year in the SEC (Missouri joined the conference in 2012) everyone was focusing on all this different stuff instead of just playing Missouri football. Also we didn’t have as many injuries as we did before, so we were able to get healthy these last few years and show the world that Mizzou can win.”
AOB: Over your three seasons at Mizzou, what would you say your proudest moment and/or accomplishment has been?
Golden: “I have a lot of proud moments at Mizzou. We’ve done a lot. But I’d have to say that winning the SEC East championship the two years that we did and going to the SEC Championship.”
AOB: What did winning the 2015 Citrus Bowl MVP award mean to you?
Golden: “Winning the Citrus Bowl MVP meant the world to me. Just getting up there and competing and representing Mizzou, it felt good. I had a lot of family there and I just wanted to get out there and do whatever I had to do to win.”
AOB: In terms of the pre-draft process, what have you been focusing on the most, so far, since the end of the season?
Golden: “I’ve been working on everything since the season ended. Right now I’m just out here training in Atlanta with Chuck Smith (former Falcons and Panthers All-Pro DE from 1992-2000) getting ready for the Senior Bowl. That’s what I’ve been focusing on right now, just getting ready to go up there and work on my technique and go hard all week to get ready for the game.”
AOB: Speaking of the Senior Bowl, what would you say you’re most looking forward to, not only just in terms of the Senior Bowl game, but the week leading up to it as well?
Golden: “I’m just looking forward to competing against the guys. There will be a lot of great players there, so that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. Just getting out there and being able to compete against all those guys.”
AOB: What has it been like playing alongside fellow defensive players at Missouri such as Sheldon Richardson, Shane Ray, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam and E.J. Gaines during your collegiate career, and how has playing with them impacted you and your career?
Golden: “It’s been great for me, to compete with a bunch of great players that are now in the NFL or on their way to the NFL. It’s been real great because it’s really competitive. At Mizzou we have a lot of great athletes, so being able to play with all of those guys brings out the competitive side in you. You learn a lot from those guys because they’ve been there before, so we’re all able to learn from each other.”
AOB: Is there a certain NFL player that you model your game after?
Golden: “Honestly I’ve played a lot of different positions. I played running back in high school, and I thought I was going to be a RB at first. So I tried to run the ball like Marshall Faulk, but I got too big to play running back. I’d say I learn a lot from watching guys at Mizzou like Sheldon Richardson and Sean Weatherspoon, but I don’t really model my game after another specific player.”
AOB: If you could tell scouts and NFL execs just one thing to convince them to select you in the draft, what would it be?
Golden: “That I play hard. I play every down like it’s my last play. You’ll never see me out there not going hard, or a play where I’m not giving my all. I feel like that’s one of the best things about me, I’m going to go hard every play no matter if I’m pass-rushing or I gotta run a player down from behind. So that’s what I do, I just go out there and play football.”