League Alerts’ own NFL insider Joseph Marquez was fortunate enough to have a discussion with recently signed Las Vegas Raider, Madre Harper.
Madre is a cornerback who started off his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, but was let go due to a violation of team rules. He started a clean slate at the University of Southern Illinois. He would go on to record 42 tackles, 12 pass break-ups, and 2 interceptions in his senior season before deciding to declare for the NFL Draft.
Harper wasn’t always this successful, as he was only rated a 3-star recruit in high school, also ranked as the 17th cornerback in the state of Texas. We we’re fortunate enough to ask Harper some great questions about his journey and what it’s been like up to this point in his career.
Marquez: At what age did you first start playing football? Did you fall in love with the game right away?
Harper: “I started playing at 5 years old, and instantly I was tackling people in flag football”
Marquez: When did you realize you had a serious chance at making it to the league?
Harper: “I always knew I trained my whole life. I also expected this while kids watched cartoons, I ran hills, and did drills. No vacations, no days off training”
Marquez: Where there any times during you’re football journey when you felt like giving up. Where there any major obstacles you had to overcome?
Harper: “I never wanted to give up, but I definitely had difficult times that drained my love for the game. But I knew my purpose, and I had to buckle down and keep going”
Marquez: Who was you’re inspiration to not giving up? We’re there any player(s) you looked up to when you where younger?
Harper: “Seeing my dad and mom break their back everyday to support me and my sister kept me going honestly, and I wanted a certain lifestyle as well, so I knew I had to go get it”
Marquez: How would you describe you’re collegiate career?
Harper: “My collegiate career was okay, but had a lot of ups and downs. However, I made it out with a degree, may not have accomplished everything I wanted, but I got to play”
Marquez: What’s one of The biggest things any coach has taught you?
Harper: “Expectations VS Reality and how to handle that”
Marquez: Finding out the Raiders wanted to sign you after going undrafted how did you feel?
Harper: “It felt like they gave me a big opportunity, and that I would take full advantage”
Marquez: How are you looking to stay in top shape will being in quarantine? What type of self training are you doing?
Harper: “Running hills, footwork at the park with my trainer, dumbells, weight vest for push-up curls, stuff like that”
Marquez: Is there any player in the league you are looking forward to do a jersey swap with?
Harper: “Yes. My brother Trey Flowers”
Marquez: If you could give advice to a young kid with hopes of being in the NFL one day what would you tell them?
Harper: “Keep working, always outwork your competition, practice with urgency, keep your nose clean, and when them lights on, perform”
Bonus question: Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Harper: “Yes, Pineapple belongs on Pizza”