You're from Los Angeles, so you're far from home. What do you miss most about California?
Nothing, really. Just my family. Oh, and my dog. I had just got a dog before I left, and she's about 4 or 5 months now. I pretty much miss my dog. Her name's Lucky. She's a pit bull. I've got to bring her out here (to Tampa). That's probably what I miss most.
I'm sure you could use the company this far away.
Yeah, and dogs are real loyal, so I know she probably misses me like I miss her.
I know you have six sisters; I'm wondering what that was like. What's the best and worst thing about having six sisters?
The best thing is that you just know (a lot about) women. So, you know how to treat women. That's a little bit of an advantage. There's nothing really bad about it. It's all an advantage. You know the mood swings. You know how to talk to them and how to treat them. I give them their distance when they're mad. I stay in my own little zone. The good thing is that they look out for me. They're overprotective. They never let anybody hurt me. They tried to fight (against) dudes for me and everything.
So, they spoiled you?
Yeah, but I spoiled them all the time, too.
Every week we ask this: What's playing most often on your iPod?
(Rapper) Young Jeezy. I listen to Young Jeezy all day, every day. Then I throw some Tupac in there.
What on your iPod would surprise me?
I listen to pretty much the same songs over and over. I had other people put songs on it for me. I actually just learned how to put songs on there. I have some slow jams on there, though, for when me and my lady are kicking it. I have some gospel on there. I got saved on Sept. 11. So, I have to listen to some gospel.
The other weekly question we ask: What website do you visit the most?
I like shoes, so I go to FlightClubLA.com a lot. It's a sneaker website. But I don't really get on the Internet that much. But when I do, the best website is YouTube, to look at funny videos.
So, are you an Air Jordan guy? What kind of shoes are we talking about?
Tennis shoes, shoes that nobody's got. I rock a lot of Adidas that nobody has. Jordan, Nikes — any kind of shoe that catches my attention. It can be an off-brand shoe. I'll (wear) it and make it look nice. My swagger is out of this world. I'll wear anything and make it look nice.
Changing gears, I know gang violence took a toll on your family. You lost two brothers. How did that change you personally?
I don't know. I guess it kind of made me who I am today. I kind of looked out for my family more than I looked out for myself. I was already overprotective of my family. I thought growing, as a man, you're not supposed to cry. So, I never showed emotion about it when I was young. I just always tried to stay tough about it because I didn't want to look weak in front of my family and my sisters. I just always tried to be the man they wanted me to be because I didn't want to be a burden on my mom and my sisters. … Just living right, you know?
Did your brothers like football?
Yeah. They wanted me to play. But they never got to see me play.
They would be pretty proud as football fans to see their little brother today, right?
Yeah, they would have been proud. They are proud because they're watching me now.
Now, to lighten the mood a little, we know California has some big-time football. But so does Florida. So, to put you on the spot, where are the best players coming from: Florida or California?
I'm from Cali, so I'm going to represent Cali. But they have good athletes in Florida as well. But we have one of the best at Crenshaw (High), my home school, the Black Mamba, De'Anthony Thomas. He shuts it down. He's a fast cat.
What position does he play?
Anything you want him to play. Running back, (defensive back) — he can do it all. (Thomas has orally committed to USC.)
What kind of team did you have when you were at Crenshaw?
We won the first city championship when I was at Crenshaw. That was in my 11th grade year. That was real special.
You have a bye week next week. How do you plan to spend your free time?
I'm going home. I've got to get a haircut.
You're going home to get a haircut?
Well, I'm going to get a mohawk, so I want my barber to do it first, and then I'll come back and show them (in Tampa) how I want it done. Hey, there's nothing like a hometown haircut.