USC Football Recruiting

QB CJ Stroud’s Found His Calling

October 28, 2019

Three-star QB CJ Stroud‍ arrived in Frisco, TX for the 2019 Elite 11 and The Opening Finals, with many wondering why he was chosen to compete with the top 2020 QB prospects in the Nation. 

By the time The Opening Finals concluded July 3, everyone in attendance was baffled he didn’t have more scholarships offers. Of course chatter also began about which Power-5 school would be next to offer. In short, it was a magical week for not only Stroud, but for those of us watching him perform for five days. Especially those who know him as an extremely humble and genuinely nice kid. 

For those of us covering high school recruiting in southern California, Stroud’s performance didn’t shock us, because there was no doubt he had talent. He’s just one of the few who doesn’t spend each week working with a private QB coach, he didn't play much 7v7 or attend camps. Stroud also spends considerable time playing hoops during the winter and spring.

Since we last spoke at length to Stroud in July, he's gotten significant offers from Oregon and Ohio St. USC has also lost its QB commit Bryce Young‍ when he flipped his commitment to Alabama last month. USC Scoop traveled to Rancho Cucamonga last week to talk to Stroud about where things stand with his recruitment and much more.

Scott Schrader and CJ Stroud Q&A:

Scott Schrader: What’s happened since winning the Elite11 MVP in July?

CJ STROUD: “There’s been a lot going on with recruiting and in my life. A lot of new schools have reached out and I got the Ohio St. offer a month ago...and that’s pretty big. There are people looking out for me now, so there are a lot of schools taking a close look at me.”

SS: Back in July you were pretty serious about Cal, Baylor, Washington St. and a few others. You still talking too those schools?

CJ STROUD: “Yeah, most definitely. I’m still interested in those schools and still talk a little bit to Baylor and Washington St.”

SS: Who do you talk to more than a little bit?

CJ STROUD: “Oregon, I talk to Ohio St. a lot and I just started talking to Georgia. I think Georgia is coming to see me soon.”

SS: Do you hear at all from USC?

CJ STROUD: They send me graphics and handwritten letters and stuff, but I really haven’t had conversations with them yet. They only send me letters and stuff like that, but I won’t be surprised if they start recruiting me more.”

SS: Do you talk with anyone at all from USC, like Chris Hawkins?

CJ STROUD: “I talk to his brother Armond and he keeps me sort of in tune with what their thinking, but I haven’t talked to anyone direct yet.”

SS: Do you have any official visits set?

CJ STROUD: “I don’t have any set yet, but I’ll be taking mine most likely when the Bowl games are being set up in December when they’re not playing.”

SS: What iimpressed you about Ohio St. when you visited there?

CJ STROUD: “I went on an unofficial visit there Oct. 5 when they played Michigan St. I was impressed and really just in awe of how the culture is there, the tradition, how cool the coaches are there, how they treat players, the band playing the fight song, how the fans are and just made me think that this is a big reason why we play football. It’s something I can see myself possibly doing one day.”

SS: Oregon is a lot like Ohio St., just on a smaller scale. For the fans up there it’s a lifestyle and the atrmosphere on gamedays is intoxicating. Have you visited Eugene (OR) yet?

CJ STROUD: “I haven’t been up to Oregon yet, but I’ll most definitely be up there soon. But I pretty much talk to everybody up there. I talk to Coach Sanders, Coach Arroyo all the time, Coach Cristobal al the time and Coach Keith (Heyward). I also talk to Thomas (Graham) and Jaylen (Redd) all the time, because they’re from here. I’ve also talked to Sean (Dollars) and Oregon is another place I could see myself playing.”

SS: What’s your mindset with what the QB situation is like at each school?

CJ STROUD: “All of the schools reaching out to me already have a quarterback committed, but you have to compete for a starting job no matter where you go. In the end, It’s all about what God has in store for your life. I feel like I have a calling to inspire people through football. I feel no matter where I go or what I do, my play will speak for itself.”

SS: What are your academic interests?

CJ STROUD: “I’ve been thinking about majoring in business, communications or media. I’ve always wanted to be a sports broadcaster or something like that. I feel like I’m a well spoken person, because my dad is a pastor and he gave me the gift of gab. And I feel like I should use that some day.”

SS: If USC were to come out for a game and offer after, would that put the Trojans in the mix?

CJ STROUD: “Oh yes, most definitely. USC is a prestigious university, the football program speaks for itself and I just feel like their program is really close to turning things around. They just need a few more pieces. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with coaches, but I feel even if Coach Helton does stay, he’s a great coach and I feel they just need a few more pieces to flip the saga.”

SS: You’ve had a lot happen to you in less than half a year, but I’m curious what’s stood out during this exciting stretch?

CJ STROUD: “Probably the notoriety and a lot of people knowing who I am. I feel like I’m a regular and down-to-earth guy and I just play football. It’s a blessing from God to have these opportunities and having people actually helping me with my life. I’m sort of a role model for young kids now and I can relate to that. I’ve looked up to people like DeShaun Watson, Justin Fields and now I’m talking with those guys. I just need to be responsible with how I conduct myself and be a person kids, and everyone, can look up to.”

SS: The Elite11 is an awesome organiztion and event. Guys have told me it’s far bigger than a QB competition and was extremely impactful.

CJ STROUD: “Man, I took a way much more than football, I can assure of that. I took away knowing I want to be a better person and I learned a lot. I didn’t go to the Elite 11 thinking about winning MVP or anything like that, I just wanted to leave being a better person. That’s what these opportunities are for.  Not many people from where I’m from get opportunities like I’ve been blessed with. I didn’t care about all the gear. My attitude was being honest with yourself and always go hard.

“I went to the event ranked 19 out of 20 I finished No. 1. That’s perseverance is all. I feel like my whole life has been about perseverance and humbleness. That’s what the Elite11 taught me in a six day shell.”


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QB CJ Stroud’s Found His Calling

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