Joe Gaiter: What does football mean to you?
Apollo Stretch: Football has been in my life since I was 6. I’m a student of the game. I train hard every year to improve my skills and be the best possible player I can be. It has taught me many lessons about life. Without football I wouldn’t have been able to go to college. I’m forever grateful that football is in my life. I take it serious and treat it like a queen and football has returned the love.
Joe Gaiter:Where are you from and how was your childhood?
Apollo Stretch:I’m from Columbia South Carolina. I had a great childhood, full of love and amazing family time. I’m one of 7 so the house was always crazy. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Joe Gaiter:What is the story behind your name?
Apollo Stretch:My parents named me after the Greek god of son “Apollo”. I love my name. Whenever I have a son he will definitely be named Apollo.
Joe Gaiter:When did you start playing football?
Apollo Stretch:I started playing at 6. I was a heavy kid growing up. My father told the recreation park I was 8 so I could start playing early.
Joe Gaiter:What are the keys to playing good at your position?
Apollo Stretch You must have a combination of all these qualities. Be very physical, good intensity, instincts, speed, power, hands, eyes, hips and be a student of the game.
Joe Gaiter:What are some things that you learned from your college football experience at Newberry?
Apollo Stretch:I’ve learned that in order to be the best you have to train and prepare like the best. I am the first man in and last man out. I study hours of film and giving Max effort every day.
Joe Gaiter:What will you miss most about playing at Newberry?
Apollo Stretch I will truly miss playing with all of my best friends and being in that community. It was the time of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better 4 years. I’ve made memories that will be with me forever.
Joe Gaiter:What do you have to offer an NFL team?
Apollo Stretch: I feel that I can come in and help the team’s defense instantly. I will give max effort on every play and I am a team player and leader when my number is called. My tackling ability will help the defense and special teams.
Joe Gaiter:What player in the NFL has your style of play?
Apollo Stretch:Brandon Spikes and Navarrow Bowman.
Joe Gaiter:Why should an NFL team draft you?
Apollo Stretch:I am a ball player. That’s what I’ve always been. I’m going to make plays for whatever team that picks me. I can honestly say I was born to play football. I will come in and do whatever it takes to help the team win. I’m very competitive and hard working.
Joe Gaiter: Do you have a backup plan if you don’t get drafted?
Apollo Stretch:I will go back to school and finish up my degree.
Joe Gaiter:What are your biggest strengths on the field?
Apollo Stretch:I would say I have a combination of strengths. I would say my biggest strength is my ability to make tackles. I pride myself on being a consistent tackler. I will make the tackle in the box or on the edge.
Joe Gaiter:What is your motivation for playing football?
Apollo Stretch:I’m motivated to be one of the best to play football. I have a huge chip on my shoulder to show that I’m better than those linebackers from D1 schools. I’m motivated to use football as a way to open doors for me, my family and community. Motivated to prove those people that said a kid from a small D2 school can’t make it in the NFL!
Joe Gaiter: How do you plan on giving back to the community after you get drafted?
Apollo Stretch: I plan on starting my own charity for young boys and girls in South Carolina. I want to provide them with an opportunity to go to college and chase their dreams. I also want to build a recreation park in Columbia. These kids really need a place they can be that is safe and positive. I also will build houses for single mothers.
Joe Gaiter:Do you feel that you are at your best?
Apollo Stretch:Yes without a doubt. I’m the biggest, fastest and strongest I’ve ever been. I’m ready to blow up these pro days.
Joe Gaiter:When is your pro-day and combine and how are you preparing?
Apollo Stretch: My pro day’s official date isn’t set yet but it should be in late march. I’m training hard every day at GSP “Georgia Sports Performance”. They have improved my skills tremendously. I’m stronger and faster than I’ve ever been.
Joe Gaiter:Do you think your hard work will pay off?
Apollo Stretch: I’m a firm believer that hard work, dedication and faith will pay off. My God Given talent ran up when I was in middle school. Everything I’ve done since then has been off of my hard work and dedication.
Joe Gaiter:What do you want your football legacy to be?
Apollo Stretch:I will be known for working hard and overcoming all the doubters that said it was impossible for me to make it. I know my road to the NFL is harder than most because I’m coming from a small D2 school. I want to leave a legacy of being a great leader, teammate and player. I will be that guy that all the kids look up to and say they can also make their dreams come true. If you can dream it you can do it.