I had the opportunity this week to speak with Julian Talley, NY Giants Wide Receiver and college team of Victor Cruz. Julian is striving to make the 53 man roster out of camp in 2014 and utilize the experiences he has had over the last few years to make himself a better pro and an asset to the New York Giants.
I think he has a great chance to break through. Enclosed is my interview:
Santucci: Thank you for the opportunity to catch up with you. So, this season will be your second season with the New York Giants and what most Giants fans don’t know about Julian Talley is that you’re a local guy born in New Jersey. Does it mean anything to you or your family that you’re getting a shot with the Giants?
Talley: It definitely means a lot to my family that I am able to play here in my home state. It’s easy commute for family and friends.
Santucci: If I understand it right…you played your High School ball at Winslow High School. How did you make your way to UMASS and was college ball something you always wanted to do? Was it hard to keep that dream alive?
Talley: I did attend Winslow HS and some other guys who are active also played with me. Shonn Greene, Jeromy Miles, Kalil Glaud. We all had aspirations of going to a big school. We all took different paths and I wanted to get away from home. At the time UMass offered me the best opportunity at a good education, to play ball and potentially get to the next level. I wouldn’t say it was hard to keep that dream alive.
Santucci: You had this great career at UMASS as a receiver and punt returner. How did you find your way to the Giants and since you and Victor Cruz where already friends and teammates, did that relationship help you?
Talley: I’d like to think the things I’ve done on the field at UMass ultimately got me the opportunity with the Giants but I’m sure me and Vic being good friends had some affect on their decision.
Santucci: The Giants haven’t had a dynamic punt returner for years. You returned punts in college for UMass. With Rueben Randle moving up the depth chart, is this an opportunity for you to step in?
Talley: The Giants have done a great job bringing in some proven guys who could potentially make us better in the return game this year and moving forward…so right now, I’m just focusing on the things I do to help the unit as best I can but with that being said if they threw me back there I definitely wouldn’t mind and would surely give my best. I feel I’m capable of making some things happen.
Santucci: Last season you were on the practice squad and this year it seems that the Giants would like to make an investment in you. What’s the updated news with your status with the Giants and what’s the key to sticking on the 53 man roster?
Talley: My current status is I’m battling for a roster spot, trying to prove that I can help this team on the offensive side. And the key I would say is just for me to stay quiet and keep working hard everyday like it’s my last day because it potentially could be. Make them notice me everyday.
Santucci: The Giants offense had some obstacles last year with injuries, interceptions and getting on track; however, this year there are many new faces including a new Offensive Coordinator. What do you think about Ben McAdoo and his statements about an attacking style of offense?
Talley: I am a huge fan of Coach McAdoo’s offense. I feel like with the talent we have a lot of plays will be there to be made.
Santucci: What type of receiver are you? Do you like the slot or the outside? Do you want the ball down field or do you like to get the ball where you can make guys miss?
Talley: I would say I kinda like to do it all. I don’t like to limit myself to just one type, but I like playing in the slot. Hopefully this year I can show all those attributes on the field. My goal is to be a great and complete receiver.
Santucci: Since you are a local guy do your friends and family get a chance to see you play often?
Talley: Yes, most home games there are friends and or family in attendance.
Santucci: Last year you had been through a lot! Getting cut and immediately resigned. What’s that process like? I can imagine that is very hard to go through and how did you know you could make it here?
Talley: Last year I definitely learned a lot about myself and my character. After I was cut last year I was home for about 2 months hoping to hear back from the Giants or another team. Eventually I had to get back on my feet, so I worked at a mortgage company 9 to 5, Monday through Friday for a couple of months…experiencing the real world as they call it.
All the while coming home after working training to stay in shape. I usually wouldn’t get home until 11pm and then do it all over again the next day. But in the end it was all worth it and it pays off. I eventually got an opportunity playing Arena football with the Pittsburgh Power where I did exceptionally well.
Then I was invited back by the giants where I’ve been ever since. So it was definitely a trying time playing 30 + weeks of football but it was all worth it. And I hope I can inspire others who are going through some type of trials and tribulations.
Santucci: How are you preparing for this upcoming season? Now that this is your second year are you taking a different approach or is it business as usual.
Talley: It’s pretty much business as usual with a few different things. Last year I wasn’t with the team, so I didn’t have a true off-season routine to follow, but mostly it’s business as usual.
Santucci: How about diet and nutrition. Are you a guy with a special routine or diet?
Talley: I don’t have a special routine but I try to eat as healthy as possible.
Santucci: This year the crop of receiver changes a bit with Hakeem Nicks gone vis free agency. Did you have a relationship at all with Hakeem and how is it different without him?
Talley: I definitely had a relationship with Keem, he was like my mentor or big brother. He taught me a lot about not only the game…but life. For those who don’t know him he is one of the most influential people I’ve met and would give me the shirt off his back type of guy. I will certainly miss him being around. But in this business faces change and that’s just how things go.
Santucci: You have a good chance to work your way into the fourth spot behind Cruz, Randle, and Jernigan. Do you prefer to stick here with the Giants or get a chance to start somewhere in the league?
Talley: I would like to be here for my career if it works out that way.
Santucci: What’s it like playing for Coach Coughlin?
Talley: One word…awesome!
Santucci: Did you grow up a Giants fan?
Talley: Grew up an Eagles fan.
Talley: They’re about 10 mins from where I lived as a child.
Santucci: Ok, what about the future? What else is on the horizon for Julian Talley? Anything we should know about?
Talley: Hopefully just a lot of success. And a lot of winning with the Giants. That’s about it.
Santucci: Sounds good. How about your jersey…when you hit the field on Sundays, what number will you where since you have worn…1, 3, 19?
Talley: I’ll be wearing #19
Santucci: Thanks Julian we will be looking out for No. 19. Good Luck this year.