Q&A With Fighting Illini Defensive Back Asim Pleas

Defensive back Asim Pleas
Defensive back Asim Pleas

Nov. 1, 1999

by Matt Herrmann,
UI Athletic Public Relations

MH: What is your most prized possession?

AP: I don't know if I really have a prized possession. I would think the thing I hold most dear is my little son. That's what I hold most dear to my heart.

MH: What are words Asim Pleas lives by?

AP: Anything is possible as long as you stick to it. I've been through a lot, and it seems like nothing ever comes easy for me, so I always make things difficult. But anything is possible just by doing it and staying focused.

MH: What was the lowest point in your career? Highest?

AP: My lowest point was two seasons ago. I got hurt. I got a thigh bruise and tried to be Superman. I tried to contribute and wound up hurting the team and myself more than I was helping. I wound up not playing much the second half of the season. That was my lowest point. My highest was last season. I switched positions and I thought I stepped up pretty well. I think I helped the team out a lot more last year with my commitment, being down here in the summer, and totally staying dedicated to the program.

MH: If you had the chance to go back and play one game differently, which game would it be?

AP: I would say the Louisville game two years ago. That was the turning point when I had that downside of my career. I wish I could have been healthy and really could have contributed more just doing my job, and we probably would have won.

MH: A halfback has just broke loose into the secondary. He's running at full steam, and you're the only person separating him from a touchdown. What's going through your mind?

AP: Take his helmet off. That's all I think about. Just take his helmet off. I'll start at his helmet, but I'll probably wind up at his ankles, but that's the only thing I think about. I don't think about who's behind me, or who's coming to help, or anything like that. I just think about hurting him.

MH: If there was one player, college or pro, that you could go one-on-one with, who would it be?

AP: Randy Moss. For one, we used to have the biggest rivalries between Marshall and Youngstown State, and I'm from Youngstown. I remember him when he used to play at Marshall, and a lot of people were down on him for some of his off-the-field problems. But just to be put up against somebody who you know is trying to be the best and wants to do it, and I think he's one of the best competitors I've seen at receiver, I would say Randy Moss.

MH: Who is the biggest ego you've ever played against?

AP: I'd say the Ohio State team. But I would think deservingly they can have that ego because they prove it on the field. I mean when you're at that position of being on top, you have to hold it. You have to walk it, you have to talk it, you got to act like it, too. Plus, I'm from Ohio and it's a different ball game. I know how it is, and it's live or die there.

MH: What's your most memorable experience while you've attended the University of Illinois.

AP: Number one, when my son was born. I was in school, I remember. I was at camp, and it was Coach Turner's first year. That was one of them. The next one was in one of the media guides. It's me, Danny Clark, and Rameel Connor, and we're kind of like best friends, and we always envisioned we'd be posing on the front of a Sports Illustrated magazine. Well, in the media guide, there's a picture of the whole defense, and I'm coming out, and Rameel's standing up, and Danny's looking, and it's all of us right there, and that's what we dreamed about. We always dreamed that it would be us there, making it happen, sticking together like brothers.