Getting to know ASU cornerback Rashad Wadood
Rashad Wadood's name may not ring a bell with most Arizona State fans, but that's most likely about to change.
"I got to play a little as a true freshman, but people kind of forgot about me last season," Wadood said. "Now I'm back, and I'm ready to get it."
After a season lost to a shoulder injury, Wadood is healthy and ready to compete for a starting job in ASU's formidable defense, but it won't come easy.
Wadood is up against strong competition in Robert Nelson and Lloyd Carrington, and the battle for the starting field cornerback spot should be one of the toughest in fall camp. Before camp begins next week, FOXSportsArizona.com sat down with Wadood to learn more about him on and off the field.
FSAZ: Fall camp starts in a week. What's the general mood around the team right now?
Wadood: Everybody's excited to get back on the field. We had good summer workouts in the training program with coach (Shawn Griswold). It's just about putting it on the field now, seeing if all this hard work is going to pay off or not.
FSAZ: So is it safe to assume no one is sad to see the offseason come to an end?
Wadood: No, no. It gets to a point where there's only so good of shape you can get in, there's only so much training you can do before you strap the pads on, and it's about that time.
FSAZ: How did you spend your offseason, though? Tell me about your summer beyond football.
Wadood: Aside from working out and training, I've just been doing homework, focusing on my summer-school classes, trying to get good grades. I go home every other weekend, back to California. I go to the beach, just kind of relax. I don't do much going out or partying. I just kind of chill by the pool, or when I'm home I go to the beach with my family.
FSAZ: Whether it's here or in California, what do you like to do outside of football to stay busy and have fun?
Wadood: Everybody goes out once in a while, but I'm not the party type of dude. I like to go to amusement parks and adventurous type things. I like to just hang out with my friends and teammates. And I like music a lot. I listen to music every day -- before a workout, before practice, before a game, whatever. My life is really football though. It's what I do. When I'm not playing, I'm working out or watching football.
FSAZ: What do you like to do when you're hanging out with teammates?
Wadood: I'll go out to Scottsdale with my teammates once in a while, but that's not an every week type thing. A lot of us hook up to play video games together, just chill and hang out or maybe go somewhere. We've been to water parks and stuff -- a lot of things.
FSAZ: Who do you hang with most? Who are you closest to on the team?
Wadood: My closest friend on the team is (safety) Alden Darby. He's like my brother. We're from the same area back in 'Cali.' We've been together since the first day I got here. We've lived together most of college. We're real close, so when we go to Cali, we go together. That's really my brother, like family.
FSAZ: Are you guys still roommates?
Wadood: We're not. I'm actually roommates with Calaen Robinson and Brandan Kearney. They both play basketball (for ASU).
FSAZ: What are those guys like? What's the atmosphere like at the house?
Wadood: Well we're all athletes, so we're always gone. The house is empty a lot of the day. We all just play video games, chill and relax. We don't party too much or anything. We just hang at the house, watching movies, relaxing until the next workout.
FSAZ: What about you? How do you describe your own personality?
Wadood: I'm real relaxed and laid back. I'm dedicated to football. I'm committed to making it and being successful in this sport. I come from a rough background, didn't really have much growing up. So this is just really an opportunity for me to make something of myself and be something in my life.
FSAZ: You say you're relaxed, but you hang with Darby a lot -- are you a bit of a joker like him?
Wadood: Yeah, I joke around a lot -- a lot. Like, sometimes people get mad at me because I joke too much. But I'm never really mad about anything. I'm cool, and I'm reliable and everything, but when I joke, I like to joke around. Everybody does. It's nonstop jokes when me and Alden get together. People get mad when me and him get to talking.
FSAZ: Outside teammates like him and coaches, who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Wadood: My mom and my uncles. I didn't have a dad growing up. I didn't even know who my dad was until I was like 13. But I had my mom's brothers. They always looked out for me like I was a son. They all played football at the Division I level. When I was a little kid my uncle played at San Jose State -- he played cornerback, too -- so I remember as a little kid going to the locker room. He was only in college, and I was probably 5 years old. That's when I really started loving football.
FSAZ: I know ASU's cornerbacks coach, Joe Lorig, used to be a police officer. What's he like as a coach?
Wadood: He's cool. He's a laid-back coach. He's not a big yeller or anything. He's just kind of a dude that will get in your ear, talk to you. But if you get on his bad side...that's going to be that.
FSAZ: What's your best Coach Lorig story?
Wadood: When I first met him, and he told me what his playlist was on his iPhone. I didn't really know him at first -- this was a new coaching staff for us -- but he says 'Every morning I get in my car and put on that Young Jeezy,' and I'm like 'What? You listen to Young Jeezy?' It threw me off. I was laughing in my head, and I didn't believe him at first. Then one day I went to his office and I'm thinking he had to talk to me about something, but he's asking me what new rap songs to download. My favorite rapper is Nipsey Hussle, and he had the whole Nipsy mix tape on his iPod. He really knew the songs, told me his favorites. I was laughing, and I was like 'OK, you weren't just saying that.'
FSAZ: You haven't had a ton of time to work with him on the field because you were injured last year. How frustrating was it being out the whole season, especially with this team turning things around from 2011?
Wadood: At first, it was depressing. I came here under the old coaching staff, so we had new coaches, had to make impressions. We've all got dreams and goals, and I felt like all that got derailed. Just the way college works, the team's going to move on whether you're ready or not. So being hurt just gave new people opportunities. It was real hard at first. I went through a depression at one point because I felt alone out here. These coaches didn't recruit me, I was hurt, I couldn't really show then anything. The Illinois game, the one after I got hurt, I didn't even watch. I was watching from home with my arm in a sling, and I didn't even want to watch anymore.
FSAZ: But it seems like you got past those feelings.
Wadood: Eventually it just got to a point where I was like 'OK, I may be hurt, but I can still play a role on this team.' So I would still help where I could. I sat in every meeting. I was always in tune to what was going on at practice. I learned the defense better. And the whole process made me mentally stronger. If I can go through this and not give up football, I can get through anything. It made me hungrier for this season. You can only feel sorry for yourself for so long.
FSAZ: Now you're about to compete for a starting job. Size up the competition for me.
Wadood: I'm up against some good competition. All our corners are good. I'm happy about that because we've got depth, and we're going to need it throughout the season. I feel like it makes us better, pushes us. If you're not competing against anybody, you get complacent. So here, any day you don't come with it they'll sit you down and put someone else in. We've got a good group of guys, we're all friends, it's a good competition. At the end of the day, though, I want to play.
FSAZ: When you think about this coming season, what gets you most excited?
Wadood: That I'm back after a year of sitting down and watching from the sidelines. I get to really get out and show what I can do. I got to play a little as a true freshman, but people kind of forgot about me last season. Now I'm back, and I'm ready to get it. But more than anything, I just want us to win as a team.