One-on-one with USC's Nickell Robey

One-on-one with USC's Nickell Robey

Published Jul. 13, 2012 2:54 p.m. ET

USC cornerback Nickell Robey has been a starter in the Trojans secondary since he stepped on campus. Coming out of Frostproof High School in Florida, Robey was a soft verbal to Tennessee. He never thought he would end up in California but here he is heading into his junior season with 24 starts under his belt and six career interceptions.  The Thorpe Award candidate has embraced the culture in his new home, while staying true to his Florida roots. He’s a big fan of competing, family, food, and more food as he told us when we went one-on-one with him recently.

FOX Sports West: You seem like a guy that loves competing. On the field, you’re talking, you’re smiling.  Where does that come from?

Nickell Robey: It just comes from the love of the game. You just got to have passion.  It’s just straight passion. If you don’t have passion for the game it’s really no purpose in playing. When I’m out there (on the field) it’s all love but I’m competing my tail off but at the same time, I’m going to teach you.  You’re going to teach me.  We’re going to get each other better.  Every rep counts for me.  I take everything to heart.  I take everything personal.

FSW: You and the receivers do a lot of jawing back and forth. Who is the biggest trash talker?

NR: Marqise Lee and George Farmer. I’m saying that right now. They’re the biggest trash talkers.  They’re going to talk their heads off all day long.

FSW: Do you like going up against those two?

NR: Oh yeah.  Then, when we (go back) in the locker room and talk about and laugh about it so it’s all cool.

FSW: What are some of the things you like to do away from football?

NR: I’m a family dude. I’m family oriented. If I can ever hang out with family than that’s what I’m going to do. I got a girlfriend, so I just chill (and) keep everything cool. When I’m off the field it’s more of everything just chill. More resting. I love movies. I go to the movies, hit the beach, any little thing that just gets football off my mind but mainly when I’m with my family, that just makes me way more comfortable.

FSW: What’s one thing you have to do every time you go back home?

NR: Take my sister shopping. That’s a guarantee but just for self, when I get back home, personally what I go do, I go visit my mom’s tombstone. (Robey's mom, Maxine died from heart failure in 2010). That’s one thing that I’m obligated to do every time I’m back home just for self. Sometimes as soon as I get off of the plane I come straight from the airport (and) I go straight to her tombstone. Straight there. No waiting around or nothing. I go there, I talk to her. I let her know how I’m doing. I feel her presence so it’s just a respect factor I still got for her even though she’s not here, but I know I feel her presence and that’s one thing that I’m obligated to do when I’m back home.

FSW: What’s one thing from here that you wish you could take back to Florida with you?
NR: The restaurants. That’s pretty much it. Florida got a lot of things but Florida ain’t really popular with restaurants and malls. Just the clothing part. California got great clothes, great food, and the beaches. The beaches get real exclusive out here.

FSW: What’s your favorite food?

NR: I’m a southern guy but I love fried chicken. I wish I could bring some Florida stuff over here.  It’s more reversed, like I wish I could bring some of the Florida stuff over here.

FSW: Like what?

NR: The soul food part of it.  Basically, the soul food. Gas prices (laughs). I wish I could bring that over here. I’m a southern guy so I love my southern food.  I’m a real big southern eater – pork chops, fried chicken, oxtails. The whole nine yards.

FSW: What’s your favorite restaurant?

NR: That’s a hard question. My favorite restaurant out here is Roscoe’s. When I’m back in Florida it’s this restaurant called Fred’s. It’s this soul food spot. Say if your momma don’t want to cook. Grandma don’t feel like cooking and you just want to go out to eat, I go to Fred’s.  It’s this restaurant they do all soul food.  When you get your plate, it’s so big. It’s a nice big plate of just whatever you want -- fried chicken, you got green beans, you got mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, everything man. That’s one restaurant that I love when I’m back at home.