This morning at 8 a.m. Mark Ingram was preparing for the biggest day of his sports career. He was also doing a phoner with BC 5 Questions Editor Joe Student, chatting about what it would be like to be Cam Newton’s teammate, the deadly Tuscaloosa tornado and how he wouldn’t have a problem taking a date to Subway to see his new chicken salad likeness.
Full report after the jump.
When will Mark Ingram be picked in the 2011 NFL Draft? It doesn’t matter…because the former Alabama running back has already been immortalized in a sculpture made from Subway’s Orchard Chicken Salad.
Take that, Cam Newton!
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Ingram recently signed on as a spokesperson for Subway, which commemorated his pending entry into the NFL by casting a likeness of him using only their Orchard Chicken Salad as a medium. Subway displayed the savory sculpture in New York City, site of the 2011 NFL Draft, which starts tonight and goes through Saturday at Radio City Music Hall.
“(The likeness) looks good. It makes a better sandwich than a sculpture, though,” Ingram, 21, said this morning from New York.
Already well Mark-eted, Ingram, a projected first or second round pick, will also be on the cover of EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 12″ video game this July.
Ingram may have a little more on his mind today than football: Tornadoes, now responsible for nearly 200 deaths, tore through Tuscaloosa, Ala., the home of ‘Bama’s campus, and other parts of the South last night.
The son of former NFL player (and 1987 first round draft pick of the Giants) Mark Ingram, the former Crimson Tide star may be the lone running back selected in tonight’s first round. If so, it would mark the first time in 20 years that has happened in an NFL Draft.
NFL lockout-be-damned, we asked Mark Ingram some questions only slightly more insightful than white or wheat? and mustard, mayo or oil?
Before we talk Subway and the NFL Draft, the storms that moved through Alabama last night were devastating. Have you had a chance to make contact with anyone there since?
I heard from a few friends down there. I checked in on some people. It’s a real tragic scene. My heart and prayers go out to everyone down there. It’s a special place and a real crazy time for them right now. It’s a great community. I will miss playing there, so I really feel for them. It’s hard to believe what they are going through.
Describe how you are feeling today and your expectations for tonight. Did you sleep last night or spend it trying on team hats…and, if so, which one fit best?
I wouldn’t know which hat to try first. Your guess is as good as mine. I am excited and eager to get it going. I am happy to be chosen by any one of the teams. I am just trying to enjoy the day with my family.
Which team did you grow up rooting for?
I never had a ‘team,’ but I did have a connection to the Giants because my dad played for them and went to the Super Bowl with them. I just want to help some team win games.
If you fall in draft order, or aren’t the first running back drafted, will it serve as motivation?
I am not even thinking about that, I just want to help a team, any team, win.
What if both you and (2010 Hesiman Trophy winner from rival Auburn) Cam Newton end up on the same team?
(Laughs)..Well, we’ll just have to get together and figure out how to make that team win.
Does this endorsement deal mean you have to take dates to Subway now? Once you get your contract signed, you can vary your places and upgrade.
I’d have no problem taking a date to Subway, if she wants to go there. I have eaten Subway my entire life, so I’m fine with that. Depends on if she wants to or not.
Have you been able to play the new EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 12″?
Yeah. I have been crushing people. I played it at EA Sports a while back. I am undefeated and taking on all challengers. I have beaten them down by the end of the first quarter.
Do you pass the ball more (playing the EA game), because people expect you to run?
I use a balanced offensive attack to crush people. It’s great.
The latest issue of “The Sporting News” asks on its cover if you are the next Emmitt Smith. How do you react to that?
Just to be mentioned with him is an honor. That’s the NFL’s leading rusher and a Hall of Famer. I haven’t even stepped on an NFL field yet or played one down. I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but it’s an honor to get that mention.
Settle a BustedCoverage office debate: one guy here swears the Miss. State cheerleaders are better than Auburn’s. We know where you went to school, but which college has the second best cheerleaders in the SEC?
I have no idea. (laughs) I don’t know. Alabama is all that matters to me in the SEC. We had great cheerleaders.
Whom do you think is the current hottest woman alive, you know, your go-to chick?
Uh…Who’s my go-to chick?… (laughs) I don’t know. There’s a lot of beautiful women out there. They’re all beautiful.
How worried are you and your fellow draft classmates worried about a potential lockout?
We don’t have any control over the situation. I just have to worry about playing football and getting in the best shape. Conditioning is my main focus, everything else will play out.
If football was banned, what career path would you pursue?
I have studied to get a degree in communications from Alabama, so I’d like to use that. I hope to one day get into sports broadcasting.
Is there a linebacker you dream about having the chance to run over in the NFL?
(Laughs) No. I am just looking forward to playing football.