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Saturday, April 27, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On his emotions when he was selected:

"I was ecstatic. I've been sitting here all day not really getting a call. I've been playing games throughout the day to keep my mind busy."

On the draft process:

"The process has been different. You usually know everything that's going on in your life. When it's not in your hands, it's really in God's hands with how everything folds out. You're just sitting there waiting, just trusting in God and trusting that what you did was enough."

On what positions he played at Cincinnati:

"I played the whole defensive line. The nose and outside. I would say three-tech is my go-to, [my best position]."

On the impact of Cincinnati Head Coach Luke Fickell:

"The credit I give him, he always discredits it. At the same time, I tell him, 'If you didn't come here and come here at the time you did, I wouldn't be the person that I am today.' He taught me the work ethic, how to be a leader. The biggest thing was — we were in the film room and he had put a camera on me all of practice. [We watched it] back and he showed what to do and what not to do. He was saying, 'As a player, if you really want to be great, take coaching.' That's what he's saying, you have to take coaching. He showed the team and said, 'This is what we out of Cortez.' It dug deep because, obviously, you don't want to be in front of the team with guys looking at you. It really brought me to another level. I'm so thankful and so grateful for that."

On his performance against UCLA:

"It served us a lot, but it's not just me. Obviously, it's the people that I played next to like [Cincinnati DE] Kimoni Fitz, [DT] Marquise Copeland, [DE] Michael Pitts. Those are the biggest factors. Then there are people behind me like the linebackers Bryan Wright, Perry Young and so on and so forth. DBs and safeties like Coby Bryant, Darrick Forrest. Then, there is that offensive line that we used to go against [every day in practice] was one of the biggest offensive lines ever. Our team average is 6-4 or 6-5, so the biggest thing is that repetition. I'm practicing against 28-year olds every single day. That's one of the things that really helped me and prepared me for where I am now."

On the interaction that he had with the Chargers during the pre-draft process:

"A good amount. I went on a visit, but after the visit it was pretty dead. I was just sitting and waiting, waiting until today around six o'clock."

On the Chargers defense:

"The defense is stacked. My biggest thing is [CB] Casey Hayward [Jr.], knowing him. He's like down the road 30 minutes in Georgia. Just seeing him play growing up and the play-style that they have — that's one of the biggest things, I have to bring that intensity every day. My mom was just talking to her mom five minutes ago, she just said, 'Congratulations.' The biggest thing is being around good people, but great players."

On players that he has looked up to:

"I've never aspired to be anyone because I've always wanted to be myself. The biggest thing is that you see [Texans DE] J.J. Watt or [Rams DT] Aaron Donald, I'll always look at them and be grateful for them, but at the same time my dad always taught me to take a piece from somebody. It's not stealing, it's more of a growing factor and how you could mold into yourself. When I see them do something, how could I do it so it can benefit me? I would just take piece by piece and put myself together as a puzzle."

On who his mentors were:

"Obviously, my father and my mother. After that, I would just say the whole UC [Cincinnati] family. The reason I say the UC family is that everybody in Cincinnati — I never met somebody that wasn't on my side and if they were, I couldn't tell. There is so much love and passion for one another to succeed."

On if he spoke to Broncos DE Derek Wolfe during the draft process:

"We watched some Derek Wolfe film. My defensive line coach was Derek Wolfe's defensive line coach, Steve Stripling. We would watch film on him before Coach Stripling retired. Just watching that film, he said, 'This is the kind of guy that you can be, but you have to be nasty, go out there and put your heart on the line every play, every snap.' That's one of the things that Coach Stripling brought out of me."

On what he can add to the team:

"I'm going to give you the same answer I gave the last person — you'll see. I'm grateful to have this opportunity. I feel like I'm unique. Everyone is unique and has their own little piece. I want my puzzle piece to fit in however it needs to fit and I can mold it the way it needs to be molded."

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