If you don’t know the name of Andrew Farmer now, you better get to know it.
The Division II leader in tackles for a loss this past year, Farmer starred as an edge rusher at Lane College out of Jackson, Tennessee. In his last two seasons, he finished with 17.5 sacks and 44 tackles for a loss. With appearance at the Hula Bowl and the HBCU Legacy Bowl in the rearview mirror, he looks to carry his momentum onto the NFL level.
Farmer spoke with Windy City Gridiron about his pre-draft process, representing HBCUs on the biggest stage, his arsenal as a pass rusher, and more.
JI: You got invited to both the Hula Bowl and the HBCU Legacy Bowl. What did those invitations mean to you?
AF: The big thing was really the Hula Bowl, because [I got to go up against] D1, Power 5 guys and show what makes me one of the best in the country, especially at a small school, to compete against those guys.
JI: How was it being able to interact with NFL teams?
AF: It’s kind of crazy, looking back at it now and seeing the opportunity I had in front of me. Who knew I would’ve talked to like 25 teams in this process? I don’t even know how to describe it; it was mind-blowing. I had a couple of teams come to me in the school year, and it started to pick up around the Hula Bowl. After that, things just exploded left and right. I think the first night of the HBCU Combine, I met with 17 teams in one night. It was pretty interesting.
JI: Your athleticism stands out on tape to me. Can you speak to how you’ve maintaining your quick first step and your flexibility turning the corner?
AF: When I went back and watched film after the season, I noticed — you can always improve on everything — the two biggest things I wanted to work on was get-off [acceleration] and flexibility. Ever since [the end of the year], that’s really what I’ve been working on: that explosion, getting more powerful and more flexible. Every day, I’m doing some type of yoga, pilates, some sort of stretching to [get more flexible] for the NFL.
JI: You had a very productive collegiate career. What was your favorite moment during your time at Lane?
AF: It was the first time we played Tennessee State in years. They used to beat our school — I think they beat us like 12 times in a row — and they’re a big D1 team, they got a whole bunch of 5-star, 4-star transfers from Ohio State, Alabama, all these big-time names. We watched in there with a chip on our shoulder, and we ended up beating them 28-27 in overtime. I had some pretty big sacks, pressures, tackles for a loss. It was just an awesome [win].
JI: What does it mean to you to soon have the opportunity to represent HBCUs at the next level?
AF: I gotta take pride in coming from an HBCU, being a small-school guy I look up to, especially this past season, [edge rusher] James Houston. He went to Jackson State, and he popped onto the scene his rookie year like halfway through the season for the Lions. I forgot how many sacks; it was like 9.5 or something like that, something crazy. I want to replicate what the guys in front of me laid out and build on that.
JI: James was fantastic this year. What’s even crazier is he had that year and wasn’t even on the roster the whole season.
AF: Yeah, I think he was on the practice squad half the season, and with injuries, they called him up (laughs).
JI: How do you spend your free time outside of football?
AF: I like to spend time with my homeboys, my friends, my family. They’re a big reason why I do what I do. Not just for the love of the game, but also so I can help provide for my family and the people who can’t support themselves, as well. I love my family and my friends, so if I have any downtime and not working out or [watching] film, stretching, I’m probably either with friends or family.
JI: Let’s say I’m an NFL general manager. What would I be getting if I drafted you to my team?
AF: I’d say a guy who’ll do whatever it takes to get it done. You need somebody to go out on PATs, run down on kickoff, I’ll do it. I don’t care. I’ve always been that type of guy in college. You’re trying to take me on special teams, I gotta be out there to help my team. [I’m] a guy who’s committed to doing whatever it takes to win and is gonna work his ass off. That’s that mentality; you gotta be able to work.
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