By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Don Cherry had a pretty special college football career at Villanova. One of the best linebackers the program has ever produced, he finished his time on the Main Line with 331 tackles, 46 1/2 tackles for loss and 14 sacks.

As you would expect, a career like that catches some attention and soon after the draft the 21-year-old Cherry signed as a rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears.

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“It’s been really surreal,” Cherry tells KYW Newsradio. “Obviously, just getting into the door and seeing some of the veterans there. Seeing the top class facilities and all these great coaches. It’s really just been a great experience thus far. The biggest things that I feel right now is just mentally getting into the playbook and getting used to a new system and just try and learn as fast as possible is what’s obviously going to help me in the long run.”

Listen to the entire interview with Villanova product Don Cherry:


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Cherry, who is listed at 6’1″ and 240 pounds, was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, junior and senior (first team as a junior and senior) and he talks about what part of his game he feels transitions the best right now to the NFL.

“That mental aspect,” Cherry says. “The ability to read pre-snap, see what’s going on and just use my studying and my love of the game and my ability to watch film and learn tendencies and then just be a smart football player out there. Let my instincts fly.”

The Trumbull, Connecticut native says his time with the Wildcats helped prepare him for the challenge of pro football.

“(Villanova head) Coach (Andy) Talley was obviously great,” Cherry says. “He doesn’t have short-sight at all, coming up on my junior year he was already preparing me because I had a big season and he believed in me and the whole coaching staff believed in me. They were always good and they were always on top of me making sure I was prepared and being a leader every single day.

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“At this point right now, I can definitely attest a lot of my work ethic and my skills are from Coach Talley and that whole coaching staff.”