Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell caught up with five-star defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, who was the Rivals.com Recruit of the Week on July 14, for 10 questions:
What do you think are the strengths of your game and what would you like to work on to get better?
I believe some of my strengths are my ability to find the football, also my first step is pretty good along with my get-off, but most importantly is my will to not be beaten and to not give up. Overall, I want to get better at all aspects of my game because there is never a perfect football player. But if I had to point out a few I would always like to stay low of contact, keep my feet moving and always use my hands and technique.
When did you start playing football? Who is the biggest influence on you when it comes to football and why?
I started playing football my freshman year of high school and pretty much I've always wanted to play but I never could because of the weight limit in Pop Warner. The biggest influences to me in football are all the friends I made playing and not wanting to let them down.
You committed early to Stanford but then changed your mind and opened things up. What happened there?
I just wanted to go through the whole process. I want to leave no stone unturned.
What schools are you most interested in now and why?
I have a lot of schools I'm interested in but to name a few it would be Cal, Washington, Texas A&M, USC, Stanford, Michigan and UCLA. All have the same thing in common with the chance to make an early impact for the school, along with getting a great degree and graduating.
Now that you are ranked as a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, how has that changed the attention you've received from schools, classmates and others?
It has been really cool people seeing it and "Oh, he's five-star" but it has also come with a lot of pressure to perform well and live up to all the expectations. But overall it's a true blessing that I've been given just to be able to showcase my talents like this.
How do you focus on nutrition as an athlete and what supplements or special diets do you use to give you an edge?
Right now I'd describe my nutrition and all that as sub-par because I don't have a diet and I don't use supplements or anything. I just kind of live because knowing in college things are going to get a lot more strict on all those things. I just try to enjoy my pre-college life.
Do you talk with anyone about nutrition or diet and things like that to stay in top shape?
Not really, just work out to keep in shape and let the rest just fall in place. I don't have a personal trainer or dietician or anything like that, it's just me and my teammates working out together and trying to do the best thing for us.
What does a typical off-season day look like for you as far as exercise, weights and football training?
A typical offseason day for me would start at 6 a.m., where we go through dynamic workouts and partake in football position drills with my team and then get a lot of cardio conditioning in before we head to the weight room. In the weight room we work a bigger, faster, stronger program and then later on in the evening I'd go to the local gym to put in a little extra work. All of this is with my teammates and we push each other.
What are your goals for your senior year in high school and for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January?
One of my main goals for my senior year is to finish off high school with the highest academic honors I can achieve and for football I want to get my team to a state championship and win it all. For the Army Bowl I just want to go out there and have a lot of fun, take it all in and gauge my competition for the next level. It will help me to set the bar for where I want to be.
What is the best part about the recruiting process and why? What is the worst part and why?
The best part about the recruiting process I'd say is being able to meet all these new people and building relationships, and seeing kids that are going through the same things you are. It's really all a neat experience. To me there is no worst part about recruiting. It's all just a blessing that I'm taking all in. There are plenty of kids that would love to be in my position right now, but may not have the ability or just be able to have the same options, and that's why I'm just truly grateful for everything I've been given and just really cherishing it all.