Friday, March 29, 2013

My Hero

When I think of the word hero, I think of a brave, strong, admired, courageous individual. A hero is someone who puts others first and does not need any recognition for it. On March 27, 2013, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Katelyn Norman, a 14 year old beautiful young girl who has battled osteosarcoma bone cancer for two years. From the moment I met Katelyn as she laid there in her hospital bed, not once did she show any signs of pity or negative attitude. I could not believe how a young girl could remain so strong after all that she has been through. The room was full of good spirits and had a peaceful calm feeling to it. We talked, laughed, prayed and hugged each other. And when I was feeling more down then she was all she could say was how she loved Elvis lol. As a football player you are asked to do many things on a daily basis. Most of them are challenging and requires a lot  of mental toughness to not give up and quit. You can be sucked into your own world easily and forget about those who are less fortunate than we are, and are going through tough times in their lives. You also don't realize the affect you can have on others by simply taking time out to talk them for just a short period of time. Katelyn taught me to never take any day for granted. She stared cancer right in the face and didn't back down from it. Her story has touched many of people across the world and will inspire all of us to go after our dreams and help others. Today, March 29, 2013 katelyn Norman received her angel wings and flew home to heaven. I will never forget those pretty eyes that looked at me with joy and the smile that made my day. I am PROUD and HONORED to call Katelyn Norman my HERO and I will carry her with me everyday as she watches down on all of us. My love and prayers are with the Norman family and all those who knew Katelyn or was touched by Katelyn's story.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's Right and Wrong

I don't understand why it is so hard for athletes to stay out of trouble, especially professional ones. To my understanding being a pro is setting a good example for others that look up to you and having high character. You don't have to be out in the club and partying everynight, and then driving home drunk risking a DUI case if you're stopped. That must be the dumbest case any celebrity or athlete can get. Spend the money and have a driver or car service atleast to take you home. 

Then you got the athletes getting caught up for possession of weed and other drugs. My opionion is to leave all that stuff alone period if you're an athlete because it does nothing good for your body. But if you gonna be doing it keep it in your own privacy, don't be driving around with it on you. Yes nobody is perfect but common sense is suppose to be common. Athletes gotta know when they're out in public with their boys and they get into a fight with somebody, the media is gonna put it out as that athelete's group and not just single out the individuals who were fighting. 

If you plan on going out atleast go where the other celebrities and professionals are. You can't go to your regular club or whatever and think the averge joe isn't gonna try to start something with you. People always tell me don't nothing good happen after midnight thats why I choose to stay in and be lowkey and if I'm fortunate to become a pro athlete that won't change. 

Switching focus a little bit. I know we all see the diamond chains and earrings, the 50 cars and you go why is that person wasting all that money. It really is crazy sometimes when you see the tag prices on some of these things like $300,000 chains and watches, or $2,000 pair of glasses. Why have 50 cars when you only drive one at a time. Its safe to say that a lot of pro athletes come from having little as they grew up so its simple to go spend money like crazy when they get it for the first time in their lives, but can you really blame them? Why aren't more people out there helping and advising athletes on how to properly spend their money. You can't be so quick to judge and say you would know how to spend the money better because do you really know what you would do if your bank account went from zero to millions of dollars at the blink of an eye?

Im sure more athletes will continue to be caught up in the law and getting in trouble but if they take the time to think about the decisions they make a little more and consequences that may come I think many more would be able to avoid problems for themselves. And hopefully they realize that material things aren't the only important things to buy. Investing in things that will insure their finacial stability in the long term will be good is a must because one day your playing days will come to a end.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


As the date to leave for Tennessee quickly approaches, reality starts to sink in that once I get there my home will be 2,147 miles away. A big difference from the 15min drive I use to make from USC to go home. The second thoughts started to pop in my head. Did I really need to go that far? Should I have stayed on the westcoast? Plenty of things go through my mind now. When I signed to go to Tennessee it was all celebration, but now its time to actually go through with it. Back in highschool distance was one of the main reasons I chose USC. I wasn't ready to leave out of state after being at home for 17 years. Being older I thought it would be easier to be able to go away, which it is but you still know in your mind you're leaving home and gonna be on your own. And it wont be a quick trip anymore just to hop in a car and go home. 

But with all that I try to think about the positives. Knowing that I'm going to a school that has great coaches and families that will look out for me. When I was on my visit in Tennessee it was the only visit I took that I really felt at home, and I was comfortable there. I try to just look forward to going to a great university and playing football in front of the best fans in america. I can actually say I look forward to going to school because of all the technology I saw in the classrooms. I think it will be a fun environment to learn in with having the classrooms equipped with the latest technology. 

Leaving home isn't easy but knowing the great opportunity I have in front of me makes me excited and eager to get there. I can't wait to get with the team and start our journey to winning a championship. Until then I'll enjoy my time I have left at home and continue to workout and finish school.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Future At Tennessee

The time to arrive in Tennessee is quickly approaching and i am getting more and more excited each day. I've told you guys already what I've been doing up to this point with workouts and school. Both are still going good. Some have asked me about my future at Tennessee after i arrive, and any goals I may have. I had a question asking what it will take to get Tennessee back on top. I will try to touch on all these topics in this week's blog. 

My main thing is to get to Tennessee and get settled in and adapted to my new home for the next two to three years. Then I'll sit down with my counselors and look over my graduation plan again that they made for me during the recruiting process and get a feel for what i have ahead of me education wise. When i get there ill be in summer school and going through summer workouts with my new team. I know we have a top recruiting class and especially a good class of defensive backs coming in to go along with the guys there now, so it should be one of the stronger postion groups on the team. Coming in from juco I'm a little different compared to the freshman coming in with me. I don't have as much time as they do to try to get use to the system and take time to develop. I will be expected to play right away and thats what i plan to do. I train and prepare as if im the starter now instead of waiting to get there to turn it up. I have no problem with stepping up and being the leader of the DB's and i think each position group should have atleast one leader to keep everyone on the same page and have that togetherness that each player will push each other and go out on the field and give it all for each other. Over the years the teams that i have been on that have won championships we had team chemistry that was like a brotherhood, willing to do whatever for the team to succeed. There were no individuals and everybody believed we could win. Winning is an attitude you have to have and you get it from outworking each other in practice and workouts.  I know we have the team to win at Tennessee and having the same coaches back from the previous season has given the team more stability and confidence. Its up to the players to learn and perfect the system and go out and excute on saturdays.  I dont expect anything less then championships while at UT. Why else would i be playing ? I don't see why we can't do it. We have an offense in place with great receivers and quarterbacks that will get plenty of work from me and the rest of the DB's everyday so they will be ready. The o-line is coming alone well for the running backs we have that are just as good as any other backs around the country. On defense everything comes down to heart. Size and speed is only part of the equation, if you have it set in your mind that you're gonna win your match up with the offensive player in front of you then 90 percent of the battle is won already. The rest will come from film study during the week and perfecting your techinque. Defense is swagger. The offense will have to work for every yard they get. Our d line will be solid, the linebackers will be fine and the secondary will hold everything together. If we can get all 11 guys to the ball every play i dont see many teams being able to handle us. I know the team overall was young last year so guys had to play who may have not been ready but that gave them a year under them to know what to expect so they're use to being in big games already, now we can just line up and play. I don't really have any teams i look forward to playing because i treat each game as a big game. With that said i dont fear anyone on our schedule. I dont predict wins and losses based on who we play because i expect to go undefeated. Florida, Georgia, Alabama etc., they all practice just like we do, they put they pants on one leg at a time just like we do and they strap the pads on just like we do. So what gives them the advantage before the game is even played that they will win? I play to win and will lay down for no one no matter what they did in the past. As far as personal goals go, i hope to leave tennessee with all tbe records for interceptions and hopefully the thorpe award for the best db in college. But as always ill trade any individual awards for championships any day

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Social Media and Athletes

We all know the internet has just about everything and anything you want to know. As a recruit and athlete its good and bad. Good because if you're a big name the fans are going to know close to everything about you. Its bad because the fans are going to know close to everything about you. Social media is hottest thing right now. With facebook and twitter running, they make myspace and aim look like something you read about in history books. If you don't have any of them you're really technology challenged. As a big name athelete if you have facebook and twitter accounts the natural thing for a fan to do is keep track of you and see what kind of person you are, and most of the time just to bw friends with you and see if you will actually talk to them. Why else would it be open to the public until you choose to change your settings to private. I laughed at the story about the boy who deleted his facebook or whatever because too many fans were bugging him about which school to go to. If you can't handle that, you might not be ready for big time football because you better get use to interacting with the fans. Then you have sites such as,, and plenty of other team related sites to keep fans in the loop on recruits and what offers they're getting and what trips they're taking. To go along with that their are message boards where everybody knows everything. So many people act like they know what atheletes are doing, you swear some people on the message boards lived with the athelete with all the so called "insider info" or "sources" they have. And yes the recruits know about them and read them so watch what you say.

I had this topic suggested to me to talk about my experience with social media and with the tennessee fans in particular. Personally I've had nothing but positive experiences since I've had a facebook and twitter. The first time around during recruiting it wasn't as big yet. But during my recruitment at juco, I was getting requests like crazy on facebook from fans of every school I was talking to. My twitter was blowing up constantly. At first I was accepting everyone, but when it start getting down to the end it was getting crazy, but funny at the same time. The tennessee and miami fans were on my facebook wall talking smack to each other. The tennessee fans and miami fans all showed me love though and i was humbled to feel the presence of being wanted by two great schools which I really couldnt go wrong with picking either. I remember on twitter asking for followers and by the end of the night I had gained about 300 followers in less then a couple of hours from tennessee fans, and now I still continue to get followers from my fellow Vols. They send me alot of encouraging things that make me even more excited to get there and perform in front of them. I started doing this blog because I felt like I wanted the Vol family and everyone else to be even closer to me and get to know me outside the field and see I'm not just a body in a uniform. I use the social media as a positive tool to get information to the fans and use it to market myself because coach dooley and I talked about making a name for myself and creating my image and what I want people to think of when they hear my name. Social media is fun connecting with the fans and I always make sure I try to write you back if you write me. I'll never be the guy who is too good to have interaction with the fans. I learned that up while at USC. Coach Caroll was all about the fans mainly the kids who look up to us, he always told us it wasnt gonna kill us to stay after practice a few extra mins to take pictures and sign autographs. That might be one of the best moments in life for a person to get a picture with you or your autograph so I always try to make someone's day by being nice. 

Like I said the social media and internet can be bad too. As soon as you mess up as a athlete it will be on the news, on twitter, facebook, and all the message boards. Your public image can be trashed with the click of a button. All it takes is one wrong picture to be posted on facebook and you'll be hurting the team, your family, community, and yourself.  Athletes are under the microscope at all times. Is it fair? Probably not but it comes with the title. You have higher standards to live by because you are heroes to people and role models so you have to set the right examples. So to me its nothing wrong with having a facebook or twitter. As a athlete you just have to monitor it very cautiously, no inapproiate pictures or cussing all in your status updates and tweets. You gotta act like a pro on and off the field.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dreams Part 1 of 3

Everybody has dreams. Our dreams give us something positive to always look forward to acheiving. We set goals to try to reach those dreams.

My dream is to be a NFL football player, and I am on the path now trying to get there. It started with flag football, moving on to pop warner and evenutally having a successful high school career. The older I got the more I wanted that dream to become reality. It was in high school when I really felt that I can make this dream happen. I became one of the nations top players and became a U.S. Army All American. 


I showed up to highschool as one of the top pop warner players from the area. Freshman year was a big jump. Football was more then just going to the park for practice. Now i had weightlifting, conditioning, practice, team events on the weekends like 7on7 tournaments and still balancing school. 

Sophmore year was a rough time for me. I had knee surgery in the summer going into my sophmore season and I was going to miss the whole season. It would be my first time without football since I had started playing flag. I always worried during that year off would I be able to come back and perform like I always did. All i thought about was my dream of making it to the NFL, so I told myself to take advantage of this opportunity and make my game better. Once I was cleared to train, I began rehabbing and lifting weights, if anything I was gonna come back as strong as i could. The year off flew by and I couldnt wait to get back on the field. I just wanted to play football because I loved the game so much. So after I had a good comeback year as a junior and i started getting recruited, it hit me that football was much bigger then the NFL. Football was going to be my way to college. I didn't know much about the recruiting process, but I knew i had another dream and that was to go to USC. The first time I stepped foot on campus I wanted to be a Trojan, but that was when I was 10 and as a 16 year old now I figured that would never happen. UCLA came in during the spring of my junior year and offered and eventually I accepted it. I thought i was done with everything and looked forward to being a Bruin. The summer came before senior year and I got a call from Pete Carroll and I was in complete silence. The coach I watched on tv for years and dreamed about playing for was on the phone with me. He knew I was commited to UCLA, but he wanted me to come to a camp and workout. With me being a competitive person I took the challenge and decided to go. I trained hard during the weeks leading up to the camp and when the day came I went out and did what I knew how and thats play ball. The coaches loved what they saw and offered me once the camp was over. Now i had a decision to make. Stick with UCLA or switch to my childhood dream school?? It was one of the first tough decisions I would have to make but I went with my dream school and picked USC and signed with them on signing day.

Part 2- My USC Experience 

Dreams Part 2 of 3


I didn't have much time off from highschool. I graduated on a friday and was moved in to USC on sunday of the same weekend. So you can say i had a 2 day summer. My roommates were real cool and i still miss them everyday and stay in contact. We'll always have memories that will last forever. We were set to start our college lives. Away from home on our own as we were getting ready for summer school and summer workouts with our new team. I think starting school was easier then taking on the workouts lol. I was living the dream, going to my dream school and being able to stay close to home to play in front of family and friends. The team welcomed me and the rest of the freshman with open arms and took us under their wings to guide us through showing us the ropes. The summer ended well and it was time for fall camp. Your first fall camp is probably the hardest time in football. At some point there comes a time when you ask yourself, is football really what i wanna do? But if you can stay mentally tough and take care of your body you'll be fine. I loved the coaching staff at USC. They were all fun to be around and loved coaching. It was hard to accept redshirting at first because as a player you always feel like you can do anything anyone else can if not better. So it would be another year i had to sit out of football. It was harder this time around because it wasnt for any medical reasons, and I still had to workout, go to practice, do everything the team did except play in the game. As a highschool recruit coaches tell you how good you are and all the things you can come in and do for the team. You go from being an all american to watching on the sidelines waiting for your turn. But once I accepted my role I embraced it and went with it. I got to learn from some really good defensive backs like taylor mays and kevin thomas and josh pinkard. All seniors who knew how to prepare for games and how to take care of their bodies so I was always around them soaking up info like a sponge. As the season's end started nearing I could start getting excited again because I knew my turn would be next the following year but the unexpected happened. The coach I thought would be my head coach during my career at USC decided to go to the pros again. I didnt know what to expect at first. But I was gonna stick with my teammates no matter what. The news came that lane kiffin would be the new head coach and monte kiffin would be the next defensive coordinator. So I was excited to be able to play for a defensive legend. The new staff came in and shook up things. It was gonna be all business for now on. As spring ball approached I couldnt wait to get back on the field for practice and show the new staff what I could do. I knew they didnt recruit me so I had alot to prove along with the other players. I felt that I had a real good spring ball but it wasnt looking like the coaches felt the same. I began to think about if I really wanted to stay at USC. By now the sanctions had came but it didnt really bother me. It would just be two years without a bowl game but thats just one extra game, we would still be able to play a season. I knew a degree from USC would be powerful and I still had fall camp to prove I should be a starter but I decided I wasnt happy at USC. It wasn't as fun as it was before with coach caroll and his staff. I knew if I was gonna leave i would have to do it before camp. Where to was the question. If i went to any other division one program i would have to sit out a year for transferring and i didnt want to sit out two years straight. So i decided i would go back home and attend junior college.

Part 3. Juco and tennessee