Scott Porter: What do you feel are your biggest strengths?
Justin Taplin-Ross: I would say my size and athletic ability.
Scott Porter: What goals do you have for the NFL?
Justin Taplin-Ross: My goals are to become a very good player in the NFL and work hard to do so. I want to play for 5 plus years. I don’t want to be one of those guys who comes and goes. I want to change the position like Troy Polamalu has.
Scott Porter: What type of person is an NFL team getting in Justin Taplin-Ross?
Justin Taplin-Ross: They are getting a very hard worker who is all about the team. I like to train and work hard to reach mu full potential. I take responsibility for my actions and put myself into the best situation I can. I take the responsibility to get myself ready for a game. You don’t have to worry about me not being ready and not being a smart guy off or on the field.
Scott Porter: What will you miss most about college football at Utah?
Justin Taplin-Ross: Mostly my teammates, and the family environment at Utah. I know the NFL will be fun but it becomes a business. The closeness you have with your college teammates will be missed. The time we took growing and maturing together, I was very close to my teammates and I will miss them a lot.
Scott Porter: Who has been your biggest influence?
Justin Taplin-Ross: My mom and my brother Jeffrey. Growing up my father left us, he has since came back in my life but it made me mature very quickly. My little brother died so it was a very hard time for my family and I. Things got very hard for my mom my brother Jeffrey and I had to step up and take care of our family, we took care of our little sisters. My mom was in a few abusive relationships and I have learned a lot from everything that I have had to go through in my life. Taking care of my sisters and brother, it really made my brother and I grow up fast as we had to watch over everyone. When I left for Utah my brother stayed back home and has taken care of our family so I really gain motivation off of how strong and supportive he has been. He has always been there for my family and his ability to do that allowed me to pursue my football dream.
Scott Porter: What do you feel will be the toughest transition from the college to the pro level?
Justin Taplin-Ross: The speed will be one. Also, we played a lot of teams and dominated them. In the NFL it is hard to be as dominating because these are the best players playing the game. Every game is going to be very tough week in and week out. In the NFL everyone is playing at the same level and I am very much looking forward to it.
Scott Porter: What hobbies do you have off the field?
Justin Taplin-Ross: I like to play basketball, bowl and dance. I am the best dancer on the team.
Scott Porter: What NFL player reminds you of yourself?
Justin Taplin-Ross: My former teammate, Robert Johnson who is now on the Titans.
Scott Porter: What will you be doing between now and draft time to best prepare yourself for your dream of making it to the NFL?
Justin Taplin-Ross: I will be playing in the Shrine Bowl All-Star game. I just had my appendix removed so I will be just getting over that right before the game. I am working on my size. I want to play around 220 or 225. I want to work on getting my speed up and focus on keeping my strength and put myself in the best situation I can to get a shot at an NFL roster.
Scott Porter: What do you feel are your greatest accomplishments?
Justin Taplin-Ross: Personally I think just sticking with football at Utah. I sat behind Robert Johnson and I wanted to play so bad, but Robert was so good that it was tough with him on the field and being a year ahead of me. I could have played basketball in college so I kept questioning my decision, but in the end I knew football was the sport I really loved and I had worked so hard at it. So I stuck with it and it has worked out great for me. I knew I was good enough so I knew it would be worth it.