Tee Martin didn't wait for the end of the question.
"I'm just so happy for De'Quan."
USC's offensive coordinator was too excited to be delayed by the rest of a reporter's inquiry. Just as Clay Helton, Ronald Jones II and Michael Hutchings had done during the post-game news conference, as soon as the name of senior wide receiver De'Quan Hampton was brought up, Martin began to grin. He began talking about his excitement for Hampton before a question had been completed.
"This young man worked so hard," Martin added later. "He's a really good football player and the opportunity lent itself to him making a big play in a big moment and he came through for us."
Hampton's infectious personality has made him a favorite in the Trojans' locker room and his breakout performance against UCLA -- three catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns -- turned him into a fan favorite.
"Quan is one of the best teammates that you could find," Martin said. "He's the locker room guy, always dancing, always laughing, always joking and always telling people that he's really good, so it was just good to kind of see him have success in the game.
"We're just happy for him. He's a senior. Last opportunity to play against this team and go out with a win, go out with arguably some of the bigger plays in the game to help us win the game. It was good for him and the rest of his life."
USC star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster got banged up early, injuring his right arm after making a catch at the one-yard line and later injured his hip. He was in and out of the lineup throughout the game, meaning other receivers had to step in and fill the void. Hampton did exactly that.
Though he wasn't the first wideout to get a shot at filling Smith-Schuster's void, Hampton got the majority of the reps at the spot as USC rode the hot hand. In the second quarter, Hampton participated in 20 consecutive offensive plays -- more plays than he had in any single game the first 10 games of the season. The first pass attempt to Hampton failed miserably as UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau broke in front of a slant pattern for an interception, but the coaching staff stuck with Hampton and quarterback Sam Darnold came back to him. Both paid off.
Hampton had a big block on the outside that helped spring Jones on his 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. On the next series, Hampton's blocking again helped lead to a big play. He was out in front of Adoree' Jackson as the multi-faceted Jackson picked up 17 yards on a swing pass.
On the very next play, Darnold looked to go to Jackson again, but he was being pushed out of bounds. Instead, Darnold turned his attention to the other side of the field and threw up what amounted to a jump ball for the 6-foot-4 Hampton against UCLA defensive back Randall Goforth, who is listed at 5-foot-10. Hampton attacked the highest point, snagging the pass for a 31-yard touchdown.
"JuJu was injured. It was next man up," Martin said. "Didn't change the playcalls. Called it aggressively and Sam trusted him and gave him opportunities to make plays and he made them."
When Smith-Schuster left a drive in the red zone after re-aggravating an injury in the third quarter, Hampton once again stepped in and stepped up. Darnold hit him with a 6-yard touchdown pass that pushed USC to a 30-14 lead.
Watch Tee Martin, above, talk about the performances of De'Quan Hampton and Sam Darnold in the Trojans' 36-14 domination of cross-town rival UCLA.
Not a USCFootball.com member? Sign up now and you'll get a seven day FREE trial! Join the Peristyle Family and get all the great information from USC football practices, Trojan football and basketball games, access to the Peristyle and all of the premium recruiting updates on USCFootball.com! Become a member today!
Follow Shotgun on Twitter: @ShotgunSpr