Nov. 30, 2003
By Jeremy Schulman, FSU Sports Information
Do you have a friend or know someone who is just a good person and always a hard worker? Well, Kevin Emanuel, a senior starting defensive end at Florida State, is just that type of guy. Just speaking to his teammates and coaches, one can tell that Emanuel is a guy who people want to be around. It’s these qualities that have made Emanuel close to everybody on the team.
“I am a people’s person,” he said. “I am cool with everybody. I don’t hang out with just anybody in particular.”
Emanuel is a person who has his priorities in order whether on the field, in the classroom or in society. Following spring drills last April, Emanuel was honored with the Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Dependable Defensive End awards. He has worked very hard to earn and maintain his starting position.
One thing that many people probably don’t know about him is that he is currently working toward his second bachelor’s degree. His first degree was in Networking and he is now working on a degree in Information Studies. While football is important to the Waco, Texas native, his first priority is his education.
“Football will take care of itself but academics is the main thing,” he said.
Emanuel truly respects the people who came before him and he prides himself on being very respectful to others, especially his coaches.
“It will pay off in the long run, especially in the real world,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel’s said that it is his cousin Dwight Emanuel, who currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers, who is his greatest influence and has taught him a lot. Not only has Dwight been a formidable role model on the football field, he has also readily given Kevin advice about life – advice that has played a big role in shaping Emanuel into the person he is today. His cousin said, “Stay level-headed and always remain humble no matter what kind of success or accomplishments that you’ve had…always try to learn. If you stop learning, you’re hurting yourself, so always be willing to learn. Be able to take criticism.”
Emanuel has already proven himself a winner, but he really wants to win a national championship. This is the main reason he chose Florida State over other schools. He is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team achieve this goal. Last season, because of injuries, Emanuel moved from his original left end position to the right side of the line.
“I just try to be a team player,” he said, “so the coaches asked me to make the switch. I told them I would do anything to help the team out.”
One of the contributing factors to Emanuel’s work ethic and focus has nothing to do with the game of football. In fact, it couldn’t be further removed. When he was younger, Emanuel played the piano, which taught him a great deal of discipline. And although these hobbies are on opposite ends of the spectrum, excelling at them depends on much of the same actions.
“You’ve got to be focused,” he said when comparing playing football and playing the piano. “You’ve got to constantly practice. If you don’t practice, you’ll never get good. You’ll never be able to perfect it.”
Teammate Darrell Burston, Emanuel’s road roommate, considers Emanuel a great team leader on and off the field and he looks up to him as a role model. He also described him as one of the more light-hearted guys on the team.
“He will be impersonating somebody all the time and just the way he sounds makes it really funny,” Burston said. “He could be impersonating somebody on the team or a coach. He does the coaches really well.”
Defensive Ends Coach Jody Allen concurs. He feels that Emanuel is not only one of the leaders on the team, but he is one of the hardest workers in the weight room and on the practice field as well.
“I could talk all day about Kevin,” Allen said. “He will go in the training room and hide from the coaches when he is getting ice on a certain ailment because they don’t want us to know that he is hurt. I mean he’s that type of guy – TOUGH AS NAILS! Whatever is hurting him, he comes out and plays anyway. He’s a throwback to the old days when football players used to chew glass and eat nails. I love coaching him.”
Emanuel would like to pursue football to its highest level in the NFL. If that doesn’t work out, he wants to be involved in computer networking. No matter what the future holds for Emanuel, the good, hardworking person he is will take him a long way.