ON PUBLIC REACTION TO HIS CHOICE TO RETURN TO USC RATHER THAN BECOME AN INSTANT MILLIONAIRE IN THE NFL When I was making the decision, I thought people were going to think I was stupid. Some did. But as time went by, my decision was seen as something good for college football, a statement to kids to stay in school. I've received probably the nicest compliments I've ever gotten.
ON WHAT HE TELLS KIDS AT THE MANY SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS HE HAS HAD SINCE WINNING THE 2004 HEISMAN Stay focused, work hard, never give up. I was born cross-eyed. The medical term is strabismus. I had two surgeries, one when I was a year and a half, the second before my freshman year in high school. I use that. I talk about how battling obstacles as a young kid will make you a stronger person.
ON MIXING WITH HOLLYWOOD CELEBS SUCH AS LINDSAY LOHAN AND ALYSSA MILANOIt's just that 'SC football is on the map; in L.A. there's really no other sports team that's doing well. Being the quarterback has allowed me to meet celebrities. That's not me, that's not my world, but I've made friends with certain people. That's all it is. Friendships.
ON HIS 22ND-BIRTHDAY PARTY MAY 11 AT THE HOLLYWOOD CLUB MOOD I'm still a kid, and I'm still gonna have fun. I think I'm entitled to that. I wasn't planning on having all the stuff in the papers about it though. I just went to a club in L.A. with some of my close friends, and then some celebrity friends showed up. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were there. I didn't really call all these people and say, 'Come, it's my birthday, let's hang out.' People showed up 'cause it is a [trendy] club.
ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH BRYNN CAMERON, A JUNIOR GUARD FOR THE LADY TROJANS I'm very happy. All along, my thought on having a girlfriend in college has been: no commitment. I didn't want to get tied down because of the time demands of football. But now I'm happy settling down and seeing where it goes. My relationship with Brynn is good. It keeps me out of trouble.
ON HOW COOL IT IS TO BE MATT LEINART IN LOS ANGELES It's not that cool. The last time I went out was my birthday. I work out, I've got summer school. I'm just a normal student who happens to be very recognizable.
--As told to Austin Murphy
LEINART THREW FOR 3,322 YARDS IN 2004 AND LED USC TO A SECOND STRAIGHT NATIONAL TITLE. THE TROJANS BEGIN PRACTICE AUG. 4.