We Walk #3: WR Jeff Trojan [#18]
The Bootleg: We're here with freshman walk-on wide receiver Jeff Trojan. Jeff, you are from Huntington Beach, you are used to hot weather, "surf culture" and all of that? Are you a surfer?
Jeff Trojan: I used to, but kind of lost time
for it going through high school and getting involved with football. I go
to the beach a lot, I just don't surf [Don't worry, Jeff, neither does "Charlie"
- obscure Apocalypse Now
TB: So how many times has someone brought up to you that "the irrepressible Michael Dotterer" went to your high school?
JT: (Understandably looking confused) Uh, zero.
TB: You're not familiar with Mike? Dotterer is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame, having made an impact as a All-American outfielder in baseball and as a running back who scored a school-record eight touchdowns as a true freshman...
JT: Oh wow. Nice.
TB: Your Edison teammate Jordan Zumwalt was close to coming to Stanford, have you heard how he is doing, is he in the mix down in La-La Land?
JT: Yeah, he is doing very well, he might get some playing time this year.
TB: We assume the Bruins took one look at your last name ("Trojan") and decided not to recruit you too hard?
JT: I did get one letter from
them, that was about it!
TB: Your family is originally from Southern California?
JT: My mom's dad was in the Air Force so she was all over the place, but my dad has always been from Southern California.
TB: What is it like going from a veteran senior leader on your high school team to being a freshman all over again?
JT: It is different, definitely. You go through a change of attitude from trying to be a leader, talking a lot, and getting everybody up to trying to quiet down a little bit, learn the terminology and figure out what is going on.
TB: How different is the offense here from the one you ran in high school?
JT: We ran a spread, with three or four wide receivers the entire time.
TB: Can't you talk the Stanford coaches into running a spread here so we can open up some playing time?
JT: (Smiling) Well, I like what we are doing,
I just have to get used to it.
TB: You are unlikely to supplant starters Chris Owusu (currently injured with an uncertain return) and Ryan Whalen overnight. You must have an interest in special teams - Do you feel there will be any opportunity for some of the freshmen to see action on special teams?
JT: I don't know, I am trying to get in there, maybe block some punts, something like that.
TB: We saw that you blocked three kicks in high school - you were able to use some of your length?
JT: I think it is more being able to go all out for three seconds and then lay out for the ball. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, I'll get a shot.
TB: Were any of those game-changing deflections?
JT: Yes, actually, one was. It was a field goal to tie the game, and I blocked it and we ran it back for a touchdown.
TB: Did you get down and block on that one?
JT: No. I was trying. I had to get up after diving. I tried to run down, but I was about 15 yards behind him.
TB: So other than "speed of the game", what have been the biggest differences?
JT: Honestly, the biggest
difference is the new terminology. We had about four formations in high
school and about 10 core passing plays, whereas here we have so many variations,
so many concepts you can run, it takes a while to figure out everything
that's going on.
TB: Taking a look at your high school stats....They are quite impressive (58-879-7 as a senior), but can we assume you are more of a "possession" receiver than a "home-run threat" at the college level? You are more of a "patterns and hands" guy?
JT: Right, I am not going to running the 80-yard post or anything like that. I like to think of myself as the guy who is going to run crisp, clean routes in the 15-20 yard range, max, not afraid to go across the middle and catch it, run those "out" routes.
TB: If you were going to have a role model, is it fair to say it would be more Whalen than Owusu?
JT: Oh yeah. I actually see a lot of what I feel is a strong part of my game in Ryan, so I am just trying to watch and learn as much as I can.
TB: Among the defensive backs, let's say the freshmen, who has been a tough "cover" to shake?
JT: Of the freshmen? I would say Barry Browning is playing really well at corner. He did really well in the summer program, he worked very hard in conditioning. He was out there in the front all the time, really stood out. Of the older guys - I would say Richard Sherman is really tough to get off the ball against. Johnson (junior Johnson Bademosi) as well, he is really good, he's doing well!
TB: Obviously there are heightened expectations for the Cardinal secondary, as part of the overall effort to improve Stanford's defensive performance. The defense probably has the most opportunity to improve dramatically.
JT: They are learning the new scheme, embracing the aggressive style of the defense and they are really enjoying it. They are aggressive and trying to be as good as they can
TB: C'mon Jeff, tell us which quarterback throws the best ball?
JT: (Laughing) Oh man, don't get me in trouble now....
TB: Ok, changing the subject...You seem a legit 6-4, is that right?
JT: I think I measured 6-3 1/2 at the
TB: Was the summer conditioning what you expected, did you find it pretty challenging?
JT: At my high school, we took pride in how hard we trained, but this blew it out of the water!
TB: What were you able to do to improve as a receiver during the summer? Were you working on improving yards after catch?
JT: In the summer, we work a lot on footwork, we work with belts , practice working on getting separation from people, work on juke moves.
TB: What do like to do when you aren't playing football?
JT: I enjoy playing basketball, played a lot in high school, but not now! While I am in school, I love listening to music, I've got some reggae, got some rap, some rock. I am not really a "country music guy". Other than that I listen to about everything.
TB: It must be pretty inspirational to see a young guy like Myles get a scholarship (It had been announced just minutes before to a loud ovation that sophomore safety Myles Muagututia has been awarded a scholarship for 2010)....
JT: Absolutely. That is what each of us is working toward.
TB: Mom and Dad wouldn't mind?
JT: No, not at all!
Editor's Notes: We are digging Jeff's "18" jersey number. Excellent "Cardinal Karma" for a wide receiver from Southern California! Former Stanford star Gene Washington wore #18, as did his immediate successor at flanker, Randy Vataha. Washington, today a senior executive with the National Football League, became the very first Stanford receiver to break the 1,000-yard mark for a single season with a then unheard-of 1,117 receiving yards in 1968!
Randy "The Rabbit" Vataha, Heisman Trophy-winner Jim Plunkett's favorite target in 1970, attended Golden West Community College (the same JC attended by actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Vivica Fox!), which happens to be located very close to young Trojan's prep alma mater, Edison.
Edison High is the arch enemy of Fountain Valley High, the prep alma mater of two-time consensus All-American wide receiver Ken Margerum (1979 & 1980) and 1980 First-Team All-Pac-10 wide receiver Andre Tyler . They take football pretty seriously in "The OC" - For the final game of the Big Five playoffs in 1980, the "Edison vs. Fountain Valley" battle drew 28,969 to Anaheim Stadium!
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