2009 Breakthrough Candidates: DE Johnathan Rainey
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/10/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 10, 2009


Coming into training camp labeled as the fastest lineman on the team, Johnathan Rainey is beginning only his fifth year in organized football. In 2008 Rainey played in 11 games, getting 15 tackles including one sack.

The sophomore is battling senior DeAndre Davis for the starting right end position during camp. With his speed and athleticism Rainey has the potential to develop into an elite defensive end.

The 242-pound defensive end walked off the practice field on this hot Monday afternoon thrilled to hear he could sit down for our Q&A. We caught up about football and I learned some other interesting things about Rainey.

How is practice going so far?
So far practice is going pretty good. Everyone has to get refreshed with what we learned in the spring, but it's all going pretty good. We're getting it down and it's going well.

Tomorrow's practice is the first in full pads. Are you excited to get out there?
Yes, full pads will be tomorrow. It is always exciting to get the pads on and hit some people.

How are you adjusting to the new coaching staff thus far?
I'm adjusting very well. I like them all. They are good teachers and we are getting the material down very quick so it's good.

What are you looking to perfect during camp?
There are probably a few things I need to perfect: my pass rushing, getting out of the same old moves and bringing in something new, also playing run blocks, I need to get a little more physical and get into the blocker and control them better.

Lets switch gears slightly, you're originally from Houston, Texas, what made you come to New Mexico?
I thought I would fit well here. I liked a lot of the older guys I met out here and they treated me well and showed me a good time on my recruiting trip. I committed here because of the players, they made me fall in love with it.

What do you like to do in your off time, aside from football?
Other than sleep, I like to shoot around a little bit, play some basketball, nothing serious. Maybe some video games too.

Which video game is your favorite?
FIFA (soccer). I fell in love with that the summer of my high school senior year. I played it then for the first time and just kept on playing.

Now going back to basketball, you played all through high school but didn't start playing organized football until your junior year. Why the change?
I just thought I should try football. I was curious if I could get out there and hit some people. In basketball you get frustrated and can't take out your aggression, but in football you can hit someone as hard as you want and not get in trouble. In fact you get praised for it.

Favorite NFL team?
I'm going to represent my hometown and keep with the Texans.

Favorite NBA team?
Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, that guy is a freak.

What is something that no one would guess about you?
I can speak Spanish.

How fluent are you?
My mother is Puerto Rican and Dominican, so I have to speak Spanish to my grandma most of the time. I am pretty fluent. I can understand it better than I speak though. It sounds a little funny when I talk in Spanish, but I can get a conversation going if I need to.

What it is one thing about yourself that you take the most pride in?
I think the thing I take the most pride in is treating people with respect. As long as someone respects me I'll respect them back. That is a big thing for me.