WHO: Former Gamecock Chris Culliver, now a rookie cornerback with the San Francisco 49ers
WHAT: Debuted in a Week 4 win over Philadelphia, now an active part of the 49ers secondary, primarily as the team’s nickel back
STATS: 35 tackles, one interception
BEST GAMES: Week 5, three passes broken up and an interception in 48-3 win over Tampa Bay; Week 8, five tackles and a pass broken up in 20-10 win over Cleveland; Week 15, five tackles in 20-3 win over Pittsburgh
LAST GAME: Four tackles in a 36-32 playoff win over the New Orleans Saints
UP NEXT: The 49ers face the New York Giants on Sunday in the NFC championship
Can you describe what it feels like to be one game away from the Super Bowl?
It feels good. I’m just glad to make it, to help this team out and accomplish some of the things I’ve accomplished and putting in the effort I've put in to help the team out. There’s a lot of history here. We haven’t been to the championship in a very long time. It’s a normal week, same preparation, same schedule. We’re not doing anything different. We got to where we are now, so there’s no point in changing things.
Is it safe to say you’re having the time of your life?
Yeah, it is. It’s definitely fun being here, not just on the field but off the field as well. We have a good group of guys. We’re all having fun right now. I used to have fun at South Carolina, but this is a little more fun.
What are you most proud of from your effort this season?
Being able to step in situations and do good jobs on big-name receivers and not letting them have as big of a game as they usually have.
Can you name one receiver, after the game, you were really proud of how you did against him?
[The Detroit Lions’] Calvin Johnson. I just played physical defense when I was out there. A lot of times they tried to go to him, but I just wasn't having it. He’s a good receiver, tall, physical and everything. The defense as a whole kept him to a minimal game and we did that for a lot of receivers this year. (Johnson had seven catches for 113 yards and no scores; the 49ers won 25-19.)
Talk about your senior year at South Carolina to where you are now.
It’s been a journey. When I was at South Carolina we switched my position to corner, and after corner I tore my pec and didn’t play the rest of the season. Then it was training and trying to get things back together, not knowing if you’re going to get drafted. Luckily I did get the opportunity and I’m happy to be in the position I’m in now with the 49ers.