The dorm food I was praising earlier grew old fast, so I have started eating out a lot. Workouts are going well. I am up to 242 pounds and am continuing to chase down the weightroom records. I got on the Board [a list of the top 10 lifts in USC history] by squatting 550 pounds, the third best in school history for my weight class, which was 215-236 at the time. I caught a couple of passes in 7-on-7 practice last week. The coaches are impressed with my foot speed in conditioning drills. It looks like I'll be getting playing time in the fall. I'll know for sure once we put on the pads.
I went home last weekend for the Presidents' Day holiday. I went to a basketball game against our biggest rival, Clovis High. I felt like a star. As I stood up in front of the Clovis West rooter section, everyone went nuts. I was wearing my USC warm-ups and felt like a big college student. I went to a couple of parties at home, and everyone treated me wonderfully and was very inquisitive.
I went to Cabo San Lucas for five days during spring break with my dad and cousin Matt Smith. You wouldn't believe the caliber of college hotties down there. I had fun hanging on the beach all day and dancing at night.
When we left, I went straight to Fresno. I got to hang out at my high school, and I worked out in the weight room during sixth and seventh periods. By the time everyone came out after school, I had a massive pump going. People couldn't believe how much bigger I had gotten. The girls loved it. One day I went on campus during lunch and hung out with my friends, just catching up. I found that I had way more stories to tell than they did, and they all seemed sort of jealous. Everyone seemed antsy to graduate.
My favorite teacher, Mr. Jolliff, asked if I would talk to his literature students about what to expect in college. My old classmates had a lot of questions and were very interested in what I had to say, although I could tell some of the girls thought I was the most arrogant guy in the world. When I talked about seeing Cameron Diaz eating sushi in Brentwood, a few of them just rolled their eyes.
One night I took out Kelli Bennett. She's a junior, a petite cheerleader I'd started talking to a lot right before I left for USC. I was basically trying to set things up so that when the prom rolls around, I'll have her waiting and willing to go. I left two days later and headed back to LA to watch the Clovis West pep and cheer squads compete in Anaheim in the USA Spirit Nationals. Through my stepbrother, Mike Fries, who works at Disneyland, I got a nice suite at the Disneyland Hotel, and all my buds from Fresno stayed with me after watching their girlfriends do their thing in the competition. It was pretty cool to be a high school kid for those few days, but I wouldn't trade it for what I've got going now.
Today was the first day of spring practice in pads. What a shell-shocker! In one drill I was going full speed when Polamalu laid into me. I saw him coming, but I still got rolled. I had never been hit like that, but this is the way it's going to be in college. Everyone is big, everyone is strong. Also, as a freshman you have a target on your back. Everyone wants to lay you out.
I've started to relieve stress by heading out to Venice or Manhattan Beach to study or just hangout.