“Everyone in Miami is a Dolphin at heart,” said Cyprien, who becomes the first FIU player to suit up at the Senior Bowl. “I played right down the road from them in high school and college so to be able to play in front of their coaches and scouts now is pretty special.”
The 6-foot, 210-pound Cyprien played at North Miami Beach Senior High School and actually played against Michigan quarterback/wide receiver Denard Robinson when Robinson was at Deerfield Beach High. He is ranked seventh out of 130 strong safeties in this year’s draft class by NFLDraftScout.com and his speed, quickness and tackling ability are what he considers his strengths.
Cyprien was surprised to learn that he is the only college player from a South Florida school playing in this game, as there are no representatives from the University of Miami or Florida Atlantic University. Of course the players from the other Florida schools – Florida State, South Florida and Florida – are on the South Team, so Cyprien will get to go against them in the game on Saturday.
“I am the first one from FIU and hopefully I’m not the last one,” he said. “We have a lot of great players at Florida International University and don’t worry, they’ll be rolling in here, too. I’m going to set the bar for everyone, not just from FIU but from all of the high schools in South Florida because there’s great talent. I’m from the South but I’m playing on the North side for the Senior Bowl and it doesn’t matter. I’m going to represent.”
Last year another FIU player got a lot of attention during the college football season and in the 2012 NFL Draft and that was wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and had a breakout rookie season, blazing a trail for Cyprien and others.
Now Cyprien wants to emulate what Hilton was able to do for the reputation of FIU at the next level and he hopes to impress the coaches, scouts and general managers during this week’s formal interviews. He also wants to impress them on the field during drills.
“I am so extremely happy for T.Y. Hilton because he’s a great player,” said Cyprien, who chose FIU over Western Michigan coming out of high school. “When I went to Florida International University I heard about him and he was on posters. I thought to myself, ‘When I leave Florida International I’m going to have my face on that poster.’ I just want to follow after him and represent for FIU.”
Cyprien has been prepared for this week and the interview process in particular and he has a plan for how he’s going to approach those interviews with the NFL teams.
“Be a professional,” he explained. “I graduated already and I learned in college that sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Always be respectful to everyone you speak to wherever you are, one the field and off the field. Always be humble and these are things I learned in high school and college.”
Those are the traits most NFL teams look for in their players and those happen to be the traits shared by current former Miami Dolphins. Being as Cyprien looked up to them during his time in South Florida, it’s only natural that he embodies those values.