January 27, 2009
Get to know Stephane Ngoumou
Stephane Nguomou was off the recruiting radar of just about everyone, but once he emerged, his commitment to Iowa has generated plenty of buzz from Hawkeye fans. The Maryland native talks about his commitment to Iowa this past weekend, what his visit was like, why he chose Iowa, and his discussions with the coaches on his visit.
Q: Tell me about your visit to Iowa. What was it like?
NGUOMOU: It was great. I really liked it a lot. When I was in the plane going to Cedar Rapids I looked out and it was pretty flat and a lot of farm land, but when I got to Iowa City it was really nice. I really liked all the players and the coaches were great.
Q: Who was your host this weekend?
NGUOMOU: Jacody Coleman was my host, along with Christian Ballard.
Q: What impressed you on your visit about the University of Iowa
NGUOMOU: The thing that stood out to me was that it was very family oriented around the program. The whole team is like a big family and the coaches were great. I got to spend time with Coach Ferentz, along with Coach Campbell and Coach Wilson. They were all great and the people were all really nice and the facilities are very nice.
Q: Tell me about Coach Wilson and his recruitment of you and how it approached it.
NGUOMOU: Coach Wilson visited me two months ago and he told me that they really liked me and they would like to offer, but they wanted to see me get my ACT score up and that is exactly what I did. I took the test about a month ago and I got my score back and I called Iowa to tell them and that is when they said they were going to offer me.
Q: Coach Campbell has a real good reputation at putting wide receivers in the NFL. Was that real appealing to you?
NGUOMOU: Yeah it was. It had a lot to do with me wanting to commit. He is a great coach and he has put a lot of receivers in the NFL and that is very appealing to me. He is fun to be around and a great person.
Q: What were your discussions like with Coach Ferentz, especially when you told him you wanted to commit?
NGUOMOU: Coach Ferentz talked to me about my family and my situation when I was a freshman and a sophomore in high school. He talked to me about Randy Moss and when he went to New England and how he saw him change when he went there and how he worked in practice. He told me he really liked my tape a lot and how he wanted me to come to Iowa and that is when I told him I was ready to commit, so I did.
Q: Your high school coach told me that you like to be in the weight room. Did you get a chance to speak with Coach Doyle?
NGUOMOU: Coach Doyle talked about how I could get big and faster at the same time and how he would do it. I have heard a lot of great things about him and how he trains the players. I look forward to working with him.
Q: I asked your high school coach about your 40 time and he said he never had you do it because no one ever catches you from behind.
NGUOMOU: (laugh) Not really. I really don't get caught, at least I don't remember many times when I did. I think I was timed once at a camp with a 4.52.
Q: Watching your highlight video, it really opens your eyes. How do you slip through the cracks in recruiting?
NGUOMOU: To tell you the truth, I really don't know. Last year was really my first year playing football because before then I was all about playing basketball. I guess people really didn't know me and that might be the reason why. I always felt like I had D1 talent and I could play anywhere.
Q: What made you want to switch from basketball to football?
NGUOMOU: Actually I wanted to play basketball since I was a little kid and then in my sophomore year I started going to the weight room and spending more time around the football team and started to like it more. I played my junior year and that was the point when I fell in love with football.
Q: One of the other things your high school coach said was that you were the easiest kid to coach early on. Talk about how you have grown up in the last couple of years.
NGUOMOU: In my freshman and sophomore year I was kind of hard headed and not listening to my coaches. I'm not sure why. I guess I just needed to grow up. Then I got older and I realized that I need to start to listen to my coaches and how important that was. I started listening to my coaches and doing the right thing. Coach Malling and my basketball coach had a lot to do with changing me around.
Q: So it was just a process of growing up.
NGUOMOU: Yeah, definitely. It was just the process of growing up and understanding the opportunities that were out there for me if I started to do the right things and listening to my coaches.
Q: How excited are you to be a Hawkeye?
NGUOMOU: I am real excited. I can't wait to get there and start playing and going to school and continue my education.
Q: What do you want to study?
NGUOMOU: I am undecided right now. I like history, but I really don't know for sure.
Q: Coming into your senior season, did you think something like this would happen, an offer from a top D1 program?
NGUOMOU: In the back of mind I hoped it would. I thought I was a D1 prospect and I felt like I could play at that level. For a while I didn't understand why I wasn't getting that much attention, but I knew something good was going to happen for me.
Q: What other schools were showing a lot of interest? You coach mentioned Syracuse, UCONN, and Eastern Michigan specifically?
NGUOMOU: Syracuse and UCONN were interested and I was going to visit Syracuse until I committed to Iowa. Eastern Michigan actually offered me in my junior year, but after their coaching staff changed, I didn't hear from them. Western Michigan showed some interest along with Maryland at the end of my junior year.
Q: What was it about Iowa that drew your interest?
NGUOMOU: It was the fact that Coach Wilson really stuck with me. He was always calling me and he never gave up on me. Even when I didn't have my test score, he kept calling me and offering encouragement to keep going and do better. That meant a lot to me.
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