“First of all, thank you guys for all gathering here today. First and foremost, this was definitely a hard process. It was definitely a hard decision for me to make. Not may kids have this opportunity to make this decision this early in life and it was a huge opportunity for me to really kind of go on to my next level, go on and kind of fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL, so I am forgoing my next two seasons here at UNC to go into the 2013 NFL Draft. It’s been a blessing to be able to play for this organization and I’ve been happy ever since I came here. Just really excited. Really excited to kind of move on to the next chapter of my life and I’m ready for it.”
Can you walk us through the decision making process?
“Obviously the first day after the [Maryland] game, Sunday morning, I had a chance to meet with Coach Fedora and kind of talk about the whole process and really just how the process goes. He kind of put me over to the [NFL Draft] advisory committee and the whole agent . It’s still an ongoing process for the most part. Just kind of really getting used to it and I’m obviuously blessed to be in this position and that’s all I can really say.”
Have you received feedback as to where you may be drafted?
“No I haven’t gotten much feedback yet, but it’s more so not based on that. I didn’t want to base my decision on the projections or where I was. I think it was more so I want to move on to my next step in life. I want to fulfill a dream that I’ve had since I was a little kid so the projections is one thing, but fulfilling a dream is really the biggest thing for me.”
How do you see yourself in the NFL?
“I think as a football player you don’t really want to categorize yourself as a certain type of player. For me I just want to be able to be on the field and help in any situation. Coach Fedora really put me in special teams this year and it was a blessing he was able to do that for me. For me that showed people I could do a lot of other stuff than just run the ball on third down or first down or whatever it may be. That’s going to be a big step for me coming in and playing forever I will play for next year. For the most part I’m just excited. Excited for this opportunity that I have in front of me and I’m going to take advantage of it.”
How much did your injury history and the injury to Marcus Lattimore impact this decision?
“It didn’t really weigh that much. As a football player you take risks. Playing in the game is a risk in itself and those things kind of happen. You don’t really have control over those kinds of things. Those are kind of uncontrollable events and for me I know every time I step on the field I am taking a risk. Even for practice I’m taking a risk, but those are things that you can’t really think about. You just got to go into with an open mind and just play the game.”
What plays stand out to you during your time at Carolina?
“I would have to say probably my first two carries here at the University of North Carolina. It was actually against JMU. The first carry was 10 yards and the next carry was a touchdown and that was really the first time I really felt that emotional after scoring or even after running the ball and ever since then it’s been something that I’ve tried to engrave in myself. Never take a down for granted. Never take an opportunity for granted and really never take a touchdown for granted.”
When did you make this decision?
“Probably a couple of nights ago. I was able to talk to my brother and from all the information and all the resources I had that coach Fedora really offered me. He’s helped me so much through this entire process and my family has helped me out. Family and friends has really been there for me throughout this entire process and when it comes down to it, the decision was mine and I was able to come up with the decision. It’s something that my heart felt into and I was able to come up with the decision.”
What is the next step as far as preparation and training?
“Yeah training. I’m going to train most likely in L.A. at API in Carson and just really work hard to kind of showcase my abilities and what I can do on the field and hopefully things go well and see where I’ll get drafted at.”
What are your thoughts on A.J. Blue and Romar Morris taking over at running back?
“Those guys are just as good as me. The thing that we had in that room was something that I don’t feel that many other running back corps have in this nation and there is plenty more in there, but Romar and A.J., they’ve helped me out so much ever since I’ve been here. A.J., especially, going through the whole knee process. He’s been through it. Talking to him each and every single day kind of getting a feel of how do you feel this there, how do you feel that day. Just being a brother, us three guys we’re all brothers in there and we never got greedy on who got more carries are whatever it was. It was never anything about who got more yards. It was never anything about that. I think it was just seeing a person succeed. I think that was the biggest thing. When Romar scored, had a great game against Louisville or Blue came in and had a great game I think that was the biggest thing in that room. We were never greedy about each other. We always wanted to see each other succeed.”
“This is a very exciting day. It’s exciting and sad at the same time for me. I’m very excited for Gio and the opportunity and the ability to pursue a dream that he’s had since he was a small child so we’re really excited about that. At the same time I’m sad to see him go. I’m sad that he’s not going to be around here and I’m going to see that smile that he’s got and have the ability to give him a hard time each and every day that I enjoy doing. We’re going to miss him. This team will miss him. We’ll miss his leadership. We’ll miss his ability on the football field, but maybe more than all of it we’ll miss him as a person and what he brings to this football team. The drive, the competitiveness, the work ethic, but it is exciting also. We have the opportunity for somebody else to step and become ‘the guy’ and the face of this program so I will turn it back over for questions.”
What does the backfield look like now without Gio?
“I think the great thing about it is there were two-and-a-half games there in the beginning of the season where Gio wasn’t able to go and so you got to see Romar and Blue in extended period of time so they’ve gotten some really meaningful experience in games and so you’ve got kind of a thunder and lightning kind of look there with Romar’s speed and quickness and Blue with the big bruising kind of guy that runs extremely hard. I think the experience that they got this year is going to really pay off next year. Both of the them were involved in every special team and that’s something that we stress a lot here at the University of North Carolina and I think they’re ready and anxious to step into the roll and hopefully take over that team and shoulder the load.”