Bobby Wagner played at Utah State University from 2008-11. A four-year starter, he led the WAC in tackles for three consecutive seasons and left USU as the Aggies' all-time leader in tackles with 447. He was drafted by Seattle in the second round of the NFL draft in 2012 (47th pick).
In his second season, the linebacker helped the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory over the Broncos (43-8) last February. He earned 10 tackles in that win. Wagner returned to Utah last week to be honored by the National Football Foundation’s Utah chapter, receiving the organization's highest honor — the Distinguished American award. He spoke to high school honorees, their families and coaches at a banquet on Tuesday. He also took time to answer questions from Deseret News sportswriter Amy Donaldson.
1. Why did you think you could play in the NFL when a lot of people thought you were too small?
You just have confidence in yourself, and you just don’t really pay attention to what other people say. There are going to be a lot of people who tell you that you can’t do things in this world, but as long as you have the belief in yourself, it really doesn’t matter what other people think.
2. What kinds of things did your mom do or say to help you have that kind of confidence?
She kind of just always believed in me. Whatever I put my mind to, I could do. If I didn’t get the support I needed from coaches, I always got it from her. She was the most important person in my life. That’s all that counted for me.
3. What’s it like coming back to Utah and meeting with young football players like these?
To see the smiles on these guys' faces and hear the kinds of things they’re doing, it definitely feels good to be a part of it.
4. Does it feel a bit surreal to be the one giving advice?
Yeah. I’m just 23. It’s humbling to know that I have that type of effect on people. I’m just going to try to keep it going.
5. What was it like playing in the Super Bowl?
It was very humbling playing in the Super Bowl; I’d watched all my favorite players, and to have that opportunity myself was very humbling. The only thing I remember about playing in the Super Bowl is that I was extremely nervous, my palms were sweaty. I think I was sweaty before I even put my stuff on. But I realized I was good once I got out there and saw Peyton Manning’s face. I figured I wasn’t as nervous as he was.
6. How lucky to you feel to have won a Super Bowl so early in your career?
Extremely lucky, but at the same time, we’re not done yet. I want to win a lot more than just one. I have a lot more goals.
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