Toland dicusses walking on to Trojan squad

Indio (Calif.) Shadow Hills running back James Toland discusses his offer to join the USC squad as a preferred walk-on. Check out SCPlaybook.com's Q&A with the Trojans newest player.

Q: First off, congratulations are in order. Can you take me through the process of walking on to the team?

A: Originally I was going to go to University of Pittsburgh, but the coaches got together and had a meeting and I guess the offensive coordinator, he didn't know who I was, so he didn't want to risk giving me a scholarship, so they took their word back on giving me a scholarship. So I was just going to go to our junior college here in the desert, and then I got accepted to USC. I had an opportunity to talk to the coaches when I was up there visiting, I had the opportunity to walk on and play football.

Q: What coaches have you been talking with over at USC?

A: Coach (Tommie) Robinson and Coach (James) Cregg.

Q: As a running back, you'll probably take some reps behind Silas Redd. Is he a player you've studied in the past?

A: I watched him a little this past season and I think he's a great player and I think I can learn a lot from him. I know he's going to be a good help for me. Even though I have to put on a few more pounds, although that should be easy with a good program. But definitely he's someone I look up to and I think I could take away a lot from.

Q: Quick side note. You say you want to gain some weight, where are you right now?

A: I'm 185 and aiming for 200-205-pounds.

Q: And height?

A: I'm 6-foot-5.

Q: Where do you see yourself fitting into the USC scheme?

A: I'm used to running the ball a lot for my school, you know. I just want to do whatever I can to help out the team. I know they need some running back, so I'm going to come in and do whatever I can to help. I'm going to work hard, do my and put in the time and effort and hopefully I get some rests. And give Silas and whoever else a break and to be able to make plays for the team and help them out. I just want to be anywhere possible to help out the team.

Q: In your own words, how would you describe the difference between a walk-on and a preferred walk-on?

A: Honestly I kind of don't know the difference. But to me, it's someone who they weren't able to give a scholarship to, but who they really want on the team.

Q: When will you be heading down to USC?

A: I should be up there Aug. 1 to report to camp

Q: Have you started talking to any of the other players on the USC team?

A: No, but when I was up there I met some of the receivers and running backs. I met Marqise—it was great, he's a nice guy. He told me, you know it's going to be hard, but you'll get used to it and get into the system

Q: Has your high school coach given you any advice about transitioning into USC?

A: My coach has always been supportive. He just told me to keep working hard, keep my head up. He knows I'm a hard worker and he says good things will come out of it. Just stay patient and keep working hard and keep doing what I'm doing

Q: When did you visit USC?

A: About a week or two ago. I attended Camp Kiffin there last year, so I've been there before. I went in as a free safety, not a running back last summer though.

Q: Do you have any goals before fall camp?

A: Just practice my ability, get a little quicker faster. Get my mind set. My mind is in the right place now. I'm ready to go get it and ball out with some football. But I just want to put on some pounds, get in there and help out. I'm just glad I have this opportunity; God blessed me with this great opportunity now I just have to make the most of it.

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