USC Trojans: Exit Interview

Exit interview: Nickell Robey

April, 24, 2013
Nickell RobeyJayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireNickell Robey's athleticism and competitiveness overshadowed his size and allowed the 5-foot-8 cornerback to start at USC from day one.
Nickell Robey might only stand 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, but perhaps no other defensive performer played bigger over the past three seasons for the Trojans. Arriving on campus in 2010 as a phenomenal two-way talent out of Frostproof (Fla.), he would go on to make a lightning-quick impact, becoming the first USC true freshman to start a season opener at cornerback in the post-World War II era. Never relinquishing that role, Robey established himself as a lockdown corner with a nose for the ball, finishing his career with 163 tackles and seven interceptions -- three of which he returned for touchdowns, tying the program’s career record set by Charles Phillips.

A first-team All-Pac 12 selection in 2011 and a second-team selection last season, Robey forgoed his final season of eligibility at USC to make himself available for the NFL draft -- set to start Thursday. Having now concluded a very hectic workout and testing schedule that included a standout Pro Day outing, Robey took time out to talk to WeAreSC.

WeAreSC: What have you been up to since the end of the season in terms of preparing for the NFL draft?

Robey: The process has been really good for the most part. I was training over in Houston, Texas, and then I came back to Florida with my personal trainer before Pro Day. I’ve been really busy since the season ended, but I’ve just been trying to have fun with it. I’m pretty content with where I’m at right now. I’m really excited. I just can’t wait to hear my name called and to go into my profession.

WeAreSC: Your mother passed away shortly after you signed with USC coming out of high school, but I know that you’ve remained especially close to your younger sister, Maranda, who moved in with your aunt. How is she doing these days, and what kind of role did your desire to take care of her play in your decision to leave for the NFL after your junior campaign?

Robey: My sister is doing good. When my mom passed, she had a tough road. She had to step up and lead on her own. She’s been doing a good job as far as dealing with the death. She’s getting ready for college -- she has another year of high school. And in regard to my role as a big brother, I turned into more of a father. I had to make sure that she had everything that she needed. I needed to make sure that she had a smile on her face. That played a heavy role in me deciding to leave early. I feel like things happen for a reason, and SC was a great time -- I competed and I played all three years. I had a lot of fun and I wouldn’t take any of my actions or decisions back.

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Exit Interview: Tony Burnett

February, 15, 2013
Tony BurnettRic Tapia/Icon SMITony Burnett became a versatile contributor on defense and special teams for the Trojans.

Of all the seniors on the 2012 Trojans football team, no one took a more unique path into the program than Tony Burnett. Originally entering USC as a track and field athlete from nearby Los Angeles (Calif.) Southwest College in 2009, it wasn't until a chance meeting with Ed Orgeron one day in Heritage Hall that he decided to give football a shot.

Enjoying a breakout 10-tackle performance at safety against Notre Dame in 2010 -- his first season as a member of the team -- Burnett would develop into a major contributor on defense and special teams in his time on campus. Ultimately rewarded with a scholarship by coach Lane Kiffin, he showed tremendous versatility, moving over to cornerback in 2011, and then to linebacker this past season.

Now hoping for a shot at the NFL, Burnett took time out of his busy training schedule to talk to WeAreSC about his thoughts on his career at USC, as well as what's on tap for the future.

WeAreSC: First off, where do you stand in terms of graduation?

Burnett: I'm taking one last biology class. It's a spring-only class, but then I'll have a B.A. in Human Performance from USC.

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