Derrick Wells leads the Gophers in pass breakups this year.
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Safety Derrick Wells leads the Gophers in total tackles (36), solo tackles (24), interceptions (2), pass breakups (7) and passes defended (9) this year. We caught up with the sophomore and found out a little bit more about him.
GopherSports: How does somebody from Florida end up at the University of Minnesota?
Derrick Wells: My high school coaches had a good connection because they coached with the coaches here at Minnesota. That's what got them to start recruiting me.
GS: How are you adjusting to the difference in climate?
DW: I've been through it for a year so I think it's going to be good this year. It's kind of tough transitioning to the cold from the sun of Florida though.
GS: You weren't particularly heavily recruited out of high school. Do you get motivation from that as an underdog?
DW: Yeah, that's what we've got on the back of our shirts. I do take that as motivation that I wasn't heavily recruited out of high school. That's what pushes me every day to work hard and get better.
GS: You were named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after the first week of play this year. What did that mean to you?
DW: It's a big accomplishment for the team, all the players. I think it was a good look for the team knowing that they helped me to get it. We put in good work in the off-season so I think it was good for the team.
GS: How would you describe yourself?
DW: Laid back and just letting everything come to me. I'm not trying to force anything. I'm just trying to wait for the right opportunity to do what I have to do.
GS: What kind of music gets you pumped up before games?
DW: I like local rappers from Fort Myers. Guys like Plies and Frank Lini.
GS: You also ran track in high school. Can anyone on the team match you speed wise?
DW: when I ran track in high school it wasn't really a big thing but I do think that I have speed. There are a couple of people on the team that have speed. Marcus Jones, Troy Stoudermire, Steve Montgomery, Devin Crawford-Tufts and Keanon Cooper definitely have some speed.
GS: Who would win in a race between all of you?
DW: That would be a good one, but I think I would win.
GS: You are a pretty physical safety. Would you rather make an interception or lay a big hit and force a fumble?
DW: For me, I'm just trying to do what's best for the team so whatever comes to me I just try to make the play.
GS: Are there any players that you looked up to growing up?
DW: I have three older brothers who played football so I looked up to them when I needed stuff. They helped me out a lot growing up.
GS: What do you like to do in your free time?
DW: I watch television, surf the internet, go on Facebook or Twitter and play video games. That's about it.