Haruki Nakamura, the Baltimore Ravens' 6th round draft pick, comes form the University of Cincinnati, where he played safety for the Bearcats. Nakamura is one of, if not the first player of Japanese heritage to be drafted into the NFL.
I was able to get in touch with his agent, Dave Lee, of Players Rep Sports, who forwarded a few questions to "Ruki" for me. Ruki just returned my questions and his answers are honest and insightful and should open the fans' eyes to what appears to be a steal as a late round draft pick. Based on his skills and confidence in his abilities, he should make an immediate contribution on Special Teams and may even figure into the secondary's plans before long.
Here's the interview Q&A: Enjoy!
Questions for Haruki Nakamura
Q- How do you feel about being one of the few Asian players in the entire NFL and have you had to endure any inappropriate ethnic comments while playing for the University of Cincinnati?
A- I feel it is a unique opportunity for someone of my ethnicity. While at the University of Cincinnati, I was very fortunate to have great teammates that respected not only as a player but also as a person.
Q- Looking at the current starting defensive backfield, as well as the reserves and other draft picks, where do you see yourself fitting into the Ravens’ defensive scheme?
A- I feel as a safety, I fit in really well, but I feel my initial calling will be on the special teams to start off with, which I am very excited for.
Q- What are your strengths and specific talents that you bring to this team?
A- I am very instinctive and I am always around the ball. I play physical and try to make an impact on the game. I feel I am football smart, but still have a lot to learn.
Q- Tell me about your input, development and choice of music that went into the YouTube video of your highlights at Cincinnati.
A- Ha Ha. I actually left that up to my brother Yoshi. He is the one who put all that together and he has a good taste for highlight music, so I let him take care of it.
Q- I’m sure you’ve read about, watched and followed the ferocious reputation of the Baltimore Ravens defense. However, what do you know about the city of Baltimore, besides it’s own reputation for wonderful seafood, as well as crime and drug abuse?
A- I really don’t know too much about Baltimore. Before coming here, I was told that it is a great town and that the seafood would be top of the line.
Q- Tell us about your family. Any brothers, sisters, pets?
A- Everyone in my family was once involved in Judo. My father was brought to the United States from Japan to teach Judo. He was an 8th Degree black belt, my mother was a 4th and my brother Yoshi was a 1st degree. All of my siblings are national champions including myself.
Q- Do you have a nickname? What did your teammates call you?
A- I just make it easy on everyone and just tell them to call me Ruki
Q- What little known non-football related fact, talent or gossip should we know about Haruki Nakamura?
A- Well I am big hip/hop fan, but I love Kenny Chesney’s music and I love watching discovery channel and animal planet more than anything.
Note: See Haruki's YouTube Video here:
Post-Interview Note: It's comforting to note that between Haruki Nakamura's judo skills as well as 3rd round pick Tom Zbikowski's (S-Notre Dame) boxing skills, we will once again have a tough, physical defense, beginning with these two guys making an immediate impact on Special Teams!
Additional Note: Nakamura has earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and therefore will be eligible to attend the Ravens upcoming offseason mini-camps. Congrats to Ruki!