Q&A with USC Safety Kevin Ellison

USC safety Kevin Ellison doesn't receive a lot of national attention but is one of the most respected players on the team. SCPlaybook's Kevin Carden recently caught up with the talented safety to talk about the upcoming season and being voted a team captain.

Q: First off, talk about how rewarding it was to be voted team captain.

A: It means everything to me because that's your teammates picking. And I have so much respect for them and that's the most important thing to me, to have respect for your teammates and coaches.

Q: You are a guy that has made play after play here at SC but you don't get as much national attention as some other players. Is that something that bothers you?

A: I don't mind. It's not about that. I don't worry about what the media says about me or All-American list or any of that stuff. Obviously, you see it and it's there but I don't really care. That's not what it's about.

Q: Do you ever use it as motivation?

A: Not really. I'm motivated by myself to be great. What someone says is not going to sway me either way. Obviously, I see it. I want to be good, I want to be great.

Q: You guys return a lot of talented players on defensive side of the ball. What are your expectations for the defense in 2008?

A: Play as good as we're capable of. Play as good as we can. To put it all together. I don't want to put any kind of ceiling on what we can do because I think you take it as far as you can and there's no limit. There's always something to get better and do better.

Q: What are your personal goals for your senior season?

A: I'm going to have fun and have no regrets. That's pretty much it.

Q: There are some new freshmen in the secondary. Can you talk about how they have been so far?

A: Drew McAllister and Shane Horton, I count him basically as a new freshmen. He just transferred in. They're looking really good and getting better. They got a lot better as fall camp went through. Both of them are making a lot of plays. Both of them are going to be really good. T.J. Bryant and (Brian) Baucham, Baucham was doing really well in the beginning and then he got hurt a little bit, but he was getting his stuff together. And T.J., he's coming along, too.

Q: Coach Carroll said you epitomize a USC player. What does it mean to you to be a Trojan?

A: I appreciate the opportunity I was given to come here. I wasn't really highly recruited by a lot of schools but I appreciate the opportunity I have here. I'm just trying to take of business. I can't really talk about being a Trojan. It's been set by a lot of guys before me. You just have to carry on the tradition.

Q: Who are some of the guys that took you under their wing when you were a young guy out here?

A: I don't know. There were a lot of guys. I really respected Lawrence Jackson and Sam Baker. Those two guys, I really respected their work ethic and how much the game meant to them. I've told both of them that and they know how I feel about that. Those two guys I look to as doing it the right way and appreciate it.

Q: From being out here all offseason, it's easy to see that you are one of the hardest working guys on the team and really set an example with your work ethic. Where does your work ethic come from?

A: I think it's passed down a little bit from my mom. She's one of the hardest working women I know. My older brothers, too. Obviously, with the football part of it. They show me the way. I remember being younger and they took me to the gym and just being able to learn it and see it. Then it has to be probably from me, too, at the end of it because you know my mom working hard, and my brothers working hard. If I don't want to do it, you're not going to do it. It's just something I have always had. I always wanted to be great. I just didn't want to be average. I want to put all myself into it.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory or game since you have been here?

A: Every game. Every memory. The Notre Dame game my sophomore year. We played them at home. I say that game because it was a big rivalry. They were ranked high. We were ranked high. It was at the Coliseum and we came out and won that game, I think 44-24. That was fun. I'm enjoying all of it, really.

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