Brothers at center of Crosstown Rivalry

BY foxsports • July 25, 2012

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Dejected and defeated, T.J. McDonald returned to his locker in the Coliseum last October to find three text messages from his uncle David.

Each one read differently.

"Tevin just got his first pick," read the first message.

"Tevin got another pick," went the next message.

"Tevin got another pick," read the third message from Uncle David.

T.J was just minutes removed from USC's triple-overtime defeat at the hands of Stanford.  Late in the fourth quarter, he was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Stanford wide receiver Chris Owusu. The 15-yard penalty allowed the Cardinal to extend their drive and eventually tie the game in regulation.

"I'm thinking I'm about to get messages like 'why you hit him?'" T.J. said, "but everybody was like 'Tev got three picks! Tev got three picks!'"

Immediately his own disappointment faded with thoughts of overwhelming joy for his little brother, Tevin, and his success.

"That was his first career pick period and he got three of them," T.J. said. "I hadn't even gotten that. I had two picks at the time. He got more in one game than I had the whole season at the time. I was so proud of him.

"I went to go see him right away because he's a brother before anything, so I had to go see him."

Said Tevin, "That was real cool, man. That was real cool for him to come celebrate with me even with them losing." 

That story and more were tidbits T.J. and Tevin shared with reporters at Pac-12 Media Day Tuesday at Gibson Amphitheatre. 

T.J., a senior, and Tevin, a redshirt sophomore, were each on hand representing USC and UCLA respectively. Collectively, as two of the best safeties in the conference, they represented more than just their respective school colors or the crosstown rivalry.  They represented their family name. 

"We get to go out here and showcase a brand of our schools and the brand of our last name and be able to, hopefully, make our family proud," T.J. said. "We've worked hard to get to this point. We've worked hard for our whole lives. We've watched my dad play and gone through high school, (going) through tough coaching throughout our whole lives and now that we've gotten to this point, it all feels like it's worth it." 

Their dad, Tim, was a six-time All-Pro after his collegiate career at USC.  As T.J. and Tevin prepared for Media Day, they joked with one another about questions they would each get — including those about their famous dad.

How involved is your dad in your football career? Do you and your brother compare stats? Can you talk about your brother's play?

To which the answers, in short, are: Very involved. No. I'm proud of him.

As Pac-12 Media Day neared, T.J. offered advice for Tevin as he prepared for his first time at the event.

"He said 'look nice. It'll be a lot of cameras," Tevin said.

T.J. wasn't fully impressed with the look of little bro.

"I told him to cut off that Mohawk," T.J. joked. 

Younger brothers can be so rebellious sometimes.   

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