In this first in a series of Q&As with Fresno State players, The Bee’s Robert Kuwada learns how Malik Forrester found his way to California and what he pines for from back home.
Position: Defensive tackle
Year/hometown: Senior/Annapolis, Md.
You started out playing Division II ball at Fairmont State, but the story goes you felt like you could play at a higher level so you moved across the country to a JC in California and now here you are.
I just felt like I was better than Division II, so I just took my shot. It was more, ‘Nobody from my high school ever went Division I or even Division II, but why not take the big shot?’
It was a little difficult because I had never been to California before and I didn’t know where I was going when I got there – it was between two (junior colleges) so I was a little confused. I didn’t know where I was, who I was supposed to call, or anything. I was like, ‘Alright, whoever comes to get me gets me.’
It has been everything I thought it would be – a little more because you don’t get a lot of the stuff that you get at Division II that you do here, so it was everything I thought and then some. I’m proud to be here at Fresno State.
You also put in a lot of work over the summer on your body – weight is down about 20 pounds, body fat is down close to 6 percent. You were pretty quick last season, but you have to be even quicker this season, right?
I hope so. Working with the DBs and the offensive players, they were working with me to get me better so I feel like I’ll get better from my guys working with me, sticking by me through that whole process of losing weight.
It was really tough. Me, I don’t past 7 p.m. anymore. But it was always that 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock, point and I’d think, ‘All right, I’m going to go to Jack in the Box or something.’ But I had to fight the weight and instead of that I just drank water and went to sleep.
With the weight down and the new defensive system going in with (defensive coordinator Orlondo Steinauer), getting away from those double teams at nose guard, this could be a big year for you. What’s the best thing about this new defense?
I think it’s the fact that the whole D-line can just get after the quarterback, get some pressure, knock people back and make plays. I feel like the whole D-line is happy about that. We’re not just taking up blocks for out linebackers to come free. We can just go have fun now. It’s still our job, our business, but it’s fun. You enjoy doing it now. I think we all agree – it’s, ‘Let’s go have fun today,’ now.
You have one of the best nicknames on the team – Butterscotch. How did that come about?
That’s just something … me and (Nate Madsen) always make jokes and things and he made one joke and all of a sudden he stuck with it. Nobody else called me it. But he finally got laughs from one of his jokes so he decided to ride with it. Everyday when he sees me, just randomly, he hits me with it. But it could be worse … way, way worse.
Something many people might not know about you is you’re also a dad. You have a baby girl back home.
Maiona Brielle Forrester. It’s pretty tough, but her mother, she does a great job with her when I’m out here. ... She’s about to be 1 soon, so I’m happy. All I can do is send stuff home, since I’m in camp and stuff. I can’t wait to see them, get them out here. I get pictures every day and she just smiles and laughs. She’s talking now, walking.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada