A Christmas Story, Fifth Year Senior Jody Adewale
So much was asked of Jody Adewale, by coach Pete Carroll, the football program, the University, and his family. And he delivered. What a story this young man is. Adewale is a 2007 recipient of the Wilma Rudolph Student Athlete Achievement Award. He overcame many obstacles to be able to play for USC and to complete his studies.
It is well documented that Adewale supported his poverty-stricken and ailing family during his 5-year Trojan experience. Early in his career and unbeknownst to the coaching staff, he would make an almost daily trip to visit his family in East Los Angeles (Boyle Heights), helping to clean the house, do their laundry and drive them to work or appointments. He would give up his stipend check to pay for rent or bills. Adewale would help the family in any way that he could, going home after school and football practice every night.
After practice on Saturday, SCPlaybook caught up with Adewale as he left the practice field. When asked to recap his experience with USC, he said, "This is my 5th Year, 4th Rose Bowl and 5th Bowl game."
His favorite bowl experience was the 2005 Orange Bowl, when he got in at the end of the game. Also during this game, the team was so ‘fired-up' with a half-time lead of 38-10 and was waiting at the door to be released for the second-half. The Oklahoma team had to walk past the celebrating Trojans before the second half started. Said Adewale, "We were screaming and they were walking by, one-by-one."
Adewale thinks the best opponent they have had to face has been the Bruins who have played the Trojans tough in recent years. "They had the motivation, the heart to play us tough, they always give us a gut check."
When asked about the significance of the upcoming Rose Bowl, Adewale explained, "This is like a ‘stepping stone'- now that I'm done with football, I'll take everything I learned in football, the motivation, the hard work, being early–all the core principles and use them in everyday life."
Like other fifth year outgoing seniors, Adewale has been part of five Pac-10 Championship teams, the 2003 AP Championship team, and the 2004 undefeated National Championship team. In addition to Adewale, this class includes John David Booty, Desmond Reed, Sam Baker, Sedrick Ellis, Terrell Thomas, Drew Radovich, Thomas Williams, Matt Spanos, Lawrence Jackson, Chauncey Washington and Fili Moala. This senior class will go down in the history books as the winningest class in history. Herschel Dennis is the only 6th year senior, six-time PAC-10 championship player.
Adewale was set to conclude his Trojan career last year, after being accepted into a graduate program and being offered a Graduate Assistant position. Then, in the middle of the summer, Coach Carroll asked Adewale to return for a fifth year. What motivated him to accept the offer? Said Adewale, "I can go to work, to do the things I have set up for my life, but I can do this (football) one more time. This is my last chance. This is your ‘once in a lifetime shot,' to be with the Trojans."
His wish for the upcoming Rose Bowl game? "Just to win. Just for us to come out with a victory, to show that we can win again."
Jody Adewale at Rose Bowl Warm-ups (Photo - Jaime Rodriguez)
On a roster chock full of stars, Adewale is not a frontline player. He is listed as the 3rd fullback on the roster. Adewale does not get all the glory and press coverage. But in his work ethic and his attitude, this Trojan is a superstar.
Adewale will complete a master's degree in 2009 in Marriage and Family Therapy and plans to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. For the immediate future, he will be a Graduate Assistant for USC Student Athletic Academic Services while he completes his studies.