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Transcript - Jaguars Defensive Tackle Jay Tufele: May 1, 2021

(On opting out last season due to COVID-19 and what the last year has been like for him) "Yeah, I mean, just with COVID itself, it's just been a life-changing experience. Especially in the way it's affected my family. Just with everyone getting it and then my sister who—it hit her the hardest in a way that you wouldn't want on anybody. And it was very hard for me to have to go through that and then just having the whole season and just the PAC-12 ending during that time. For me, I took it—just with the people that are close to me, I was ready to come out and to prove myself and everyone that believed in me. But you know, I'm ready to be in this league and I'm ready to just come in and be great."

(On what today means to him since everything that happened in last year) "Oh today is the most special day in my life. Just the whole, life-changing, it's everything. From being a little kid and then especially with everything that's happened it's just a blessing. It's a blessing and I'm so grateful, I'm so grateful."

(On whether Coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State pursued him when he was in high school and now getting to be on his roster) "It's so crazy that you said that because he was—he told me that he thought he had me, he really had me. And you know, things didn't happen the way he wanted [it] to happen but at the end of the day we're back together and we're family now. And you know, it's time to go be great and then to just do it together. And I'm so grateful to be under him and part of his team. So, I'm so grateful."

(On whether he ever second-guessed the decision to opt out) "In all honesty, no. Just because [of] what I was able to do during this time. Just to [have been] able to mentally and physically change and just having all of these people and things that I never was able to have access to or resources. And in all honesty, I am an ultimate competitor and I love to win more than the next guy next to you and I want to win. It was very hard, but at the end of the day, I knew what I was getting into and I knew—I believe what I was doing, and I was able—and I saw the change in myself. And at the end of the day, I don't regret it and I'm grateful that I was able to go through this process and come out of it a stronger, faster, smarter Jay Tufele and I'm very grateful."

(On what specific changes he has seen in himself physically and mentally) "Physically, you could say my whole body, in the aspect of just on not being sluggish. And in all honesty, mentally it's just the game, knowing the game inside and out and the details. And just knowing what I'm doing to—just knowing the maximizing the technique and just the pass-rushing and breaking it down and having that time to do it. You know, football is my life now and I'm so grateful. That's what I've always wanted, [what] I've always dreamed of and I'm ready for that. And the change has happened drastically and I'm just so grateful."

(On where he is for the draft and when he realized he would be pick No. 106) "I am back home in Utah. I realized this morning, when I had a call with Coach Tosh [Lupoi]. And basically, he told me that he believes in me and he wants me—I'm his guy and he's ready to get to work and he wants me. And for me to have a coach believe in me, to have that, it's an honor and I'm so grateful. And in all honesty, I just want to say, from the beginning, for Mr. Khan believing in me, to Trent Baalke, our GM and then also, Coach Urban. I mean, it's such an experience that's like no other and I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful to be here."

(On whether he was close with his older sister growing up) "Yeah, we were all like this. All we had was family growing up and we never really had much, but we always had each other. And that's the thing, [Noreen and I] were just like this [very close]."

(On the age difference between him and his sister, Noreen) "She is, I would say she's about seven years older than me."

(On whether his sister Noreen was with him today for the special moment) "Yes, she was. Everybody was here. It was just a blessing, it was a blessing."

(On the statistics on his NFL Pro Day and how he ran a sub-5 [4.97 in the 40-yard dash]) "Yeah, I mean, I ran. Being able to—yeah, I ran in that number. Within myself, I knew that I'm just really grateful that I was able to do that, and I know I've got a lot more."

(On what teams have been asking him about the opt-out) "They were basically just asking about what I was doing and where I was at and who I was with. And then, at the same time though, they knew the

real-life scenario and what was going on. So, they never really backed—I guess they really—it was bad, it affected me in that way. But in all honesty, they wanted to see how—they just wanted to talk to me, speak to me, talk about football, talk about my life and they just wanted to really get to know me."

(On whether he was recruited by Jaguars Defensive Line Coach Tosh Lupoi at Alabama) "I actually didn't have an Alabama offer."

(On how he sees himself fitting into the Jaguars' plan for the defensive line) "I mean, I'm just—I know that our coaches, especially with Tosh, you know he's going to expect me to be that guy and to come in right away and to get right to work. And with that, it's—we're going to be just working hard every day. Being the guy I am, just being very explosive, very nasty and bringing my game and bringing that into the Jacksonville Jaguars. And also, with the young talent we're bringing in with Tyson [Campbell], who I trained with, and [Andre] Cisco, another [guy] who I trained with, just beasts. And I know these guys and I know that they're ready and what they're capable of and what we're going to bring into this organization, in our defense and it's going to be lights out. And we're going to be nasty and we're going to be ready to come on Sunday nights and just show out and be great in that way."

(On whether he trained with CB Tyson Campbell and S Andre Cisco leading up to the draft) "Yeah, throughout the whole process."

(On whether they were in California) "Yeah, so, we were at Proactive [Sports Performance] in Santa Ana, because we're all Athletes First [Sports Agency] guys."

(On any insight or scouting report on CB Tyson Campbell and S Andre Cisco) "I mean, in all reality, those two are just—they're very—they keep themselves in what they do, but they are so passionate about what they do. And they're going to give it their all. Every day, we went to work, and they always showed up, and they were ready and they gave it their all. And especially to see Andre in this process and see how he's come through it. I mean, it's a miracle—I mean not a miracle, it's just, to see someone accelerate that fast. I mean, you know that he cares and that he wants to be great in that way. And Tyson is just great in who he is and I mean these guys—I'm also grateful that we're back together and that we're in Jacksonville together."