Meet Matt LaGrone
April 25, 2009
Matt LaGrone has had to overcome several obstacles to play football at Oregon State. He started his collegiate career playing basketball at Nevada for two seasons. Then he moved to Corvallis to play football with his younger brother and just recently having overcome an injury sustained during the offseason to his wrist. Even with all of these hurdles in his way, he never gave up and continues to impress everyone around him at his defensive end position.
What is it like being able to play with your brother?
Playing with Josh is the greatest thing ever. We have a connection not only off the field, but on the field. I know if no one else has my back on the field that he will. I know he is always looking out for me and I am always looking out for him. He encourages me and I encourage him. To me there is no one better than him, and to him there is no one better than me. It’s really encouraging just to be able to play with him.
How has it been hard coming back from injury?
Coming back from injury has been the hardest thing ever for me. I have never faced an injury like this before. It has been very hard mentally to come back because I want to play, and I want to play now, but the doctors and the trainers are making me take it slow. If it was my choice I would try to play, but I’m sure I would probably hurt myself again because they are telling me my wrist isn’t ready, so I have to listen to them. It’s hard. It’s hard mentally. Physically I am getting along just fine. I know I am going to have to get my strength back, but that won’t be a big problem. Having to watch everyone else play, and knowing I can’t has been the hardest thing for me.
What is it like having an athletic family?
It’s fun coming from an athletic family. Every time we go home, me, Josh, my other three brothers and my dad argue about who the greatest athlete between the six of us is. They all talk about their All-America awards and my dad talks about his too. The advantage I have over all of them is I got a Division I scholarship in two sports, so when I tell them that, then I have to be the best athlete because I can play those two different sports at Division I schools.
Why did you transfer from Nevada to Oregon State?
It was because Josh was here and the things I heard about the coaching staff from Josh were good. My family’s beliefs and being a Christian is a big thing in our family. When Josh told me his coaches go to the same church that he goes to and he always sees them there, it was really important to me. Coaches are there to teach me the game of football, but knowing they had a relationship with God, meant a lot to me and to my family, so I knew coming here would be the best decision for me.
This is the first time in a couple years you have played football. How has that gone?
Since high school this is the first time I have played football. It was weird at first trying to get back into the feel of things, but I have a lot of guys around me teaching me things, like Victor [Butler] and Slade [Norris], and encouraging me. I didn’t have to figure out anything on my own; guys taught me the things I didn’t know and it worked.
What are you looking forward to this season?
I am looking forward to seeing how good our team is really going to be. I am looking forward to seeing the improvements with everyone and seeing the growth throughout the year. I am also looking forward to going to USC because I am from San Diego, Calif. and everyone who grows up in Southern California dreams about playing at SC. Since I never got the chance, this is now my chance to play there and to get back at them for never recruiting me in high school.
Why major in sociology?
I want to be able to go back to my community one day and to be able to help inner-city kids get out of the street life. I like sociology because it teaches me about all the different ways people live in society and all of the different things that different people face throughout our society.
What motivates you?
What motivates me the most is my two-year-old daughter [Mila] and my other child I have on the way. Everyday I think about them when I am working out or out on the field and no matter if I have a bad day, I just think of them and that motivates me to go even harder. I love my daughter. She’s the most wonderful thing. She always brings a smile to my face. I would love to have another girl because I want princesses. My wife [Stephanie] is good with girls because her whole family was girls.
Who is going to win the Super Bowl in 2010?
If my San Diego Chargers, or my dad’s Oakland Raiders don’t win the Super Bowl, then the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to win.
Finally before I leave, I would like to say hi to my mom Lisa.
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