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Blue Turf Nation has built a tradition of providing fans with great offseason interviews. This season is no different and we are excited to start with a man who epitomizes what it means to “Bleed Blue”. Coming all the way from the Netherlands his transition to America was not an easy one, but one he made to chase his dream. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoie is a true Bronco and because of that, we are very excited to give you all our first offseason interview.
BTN: You just spent time at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. What was the experience like? What is next for you as you prepare for the NFL Draft?
Ricky: It was a great experience for me because I got the opportunity to show my skills and keep improving as a football player; On top of that it was just a great experience to be a part of it coming from the Netherlands, I am just giving this my all and I am trying to take this as far as I possibly can. I had a great time meeting great people and even better players over at the NFLPA game. I learned a lot about the process of getting in the NFL. I think this experience really motivated me to work harder and to not ever give up because this journey is only getting harder.
BTN: Coming from the Netherlands what was the transition to football like in America?
Ricky: It has been a crazy ride coming from the Netherlands and I took a real big risk moving to Boise by myself to enroll at Boise High School. It hasn’t been easy at all, but I feel like I had a great support from the beginning of my journey, My host parents made the transition as smooth as possible and my high school coaches made sure I wasn’t falling behind in football or school wise. Even though the people surrounding me helped me out a lot, it all came down to setting goals and achieving those. My family took a big risk financially just to send me across the world to chase my dreams, I had to keep in mind that I came here to play football and that is what I focused on.
BTN:Did you play a lot of football before you moved here?
Ricky: Before I came to Boise I played for the Amstelland Panthers in the Netherlands which is a club football team similar to a club soccer team in the United states. We had few coaches and mostly just scrimmaged and did the things we had seen on other peoples highlight films. Things got real serious when I made it to Boise and realized that Football is a lifestyle instead of a hobby. I was overwhelmed when I started for Boise high because unlike before everyone knew what they were doing and things became more serious.
BTN: While at Boise State you made a lot of plays, and played in a lot of great games. What memory or memories stand out to you? What was your favorite moment at Boise State?
Ricky: I have two memorable moments that I can really think of at this moment. The first one is my first college game I had ever played in against Virginia Tech. Coach K allowed me to be in the game for about 3 plays because I messed up pretty bad and Tyrod Taylor broke for a 15 yard gain because of me.
The second memory is my sophomore year against Air force, It was the first game coming back from my NCAA suspension. It was such an emotional game for me because I had just been so upset and angry for not being able to be out there with my teammates for the first 6 games of that season.
BTN:There is always a lot of outside noise about Boise State and how it compares to other national powers. How do you feel Boise State has prepared you for the next chapters in your life?
Ricky: Since I have been Boise state I have endured so many different types of adversity, from incredibly hard workouts to being suspended for six games. Boise State has really made me into a man. Coach Pete educated me and my team mates on what it means to be a real man, and at first I was a bit skeptical but now that I am a little older I realize the truths he spoke. I also am very grateful for the 100+ friends and family members I now have in my (old) teammates.
BTN: Right now there is obviously a big transition going on at Boise State. With Petersen leaving, and Harsin and company taking over. How do you feel about the transition that is taking place? What kind of impact do you think this coaching change will have on the future of Boise State Football?
Ricky: I’ve been around this staff and team these past 2 weeks and I think that this change is going to be great. I expect great things from our new team. All the coaches have something to prove and they are ready to get to work.
Follow Ricky on Twitter: @tjong4tjo3