Has overcome many obstacles in life. Was not raised by his biological parents, and his grandmother, who took care of him for the first 13 years of his life, died the summer before he started high school. The New York prep earned four letters in football and a scholarship from Syracuse. Appeared in 12 games as a true freshman in 2010 and had eight tackles. Played in 12 games in 2011, including 10 starts at defensive tackle, and had 32 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Started 11 of Syracuse's 13 games at nose tackle in 2012 (the team started a fifth defensive back in the other two games), tallying 39 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks with one batted pass. Blocked a West Virginia field goal attempt in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Broke out in 2013, starting 13 times and recording 42 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks with three forced fumbles. Led the team in tackles for loss and sacks. Team captain.