USC linebacker Hayes Pullard, 19, is quickly making his presence known at USC by being an immediate threat to all quarterbacks who dare to enter the arena. Although only a freshman, Pullard was beyond impressive during the Trojans’ 2011 Spring Camp, which landed him a starting position.

“The coach told me I was going to start when we were at the hotel. I was nervous, sweaty palms [and everything], but I put on my Dr. Dre Beats and calmed down,” Pullard says smiling. “When I got on the field I didn’t feel like a freshman though, it was natural … It felt like I was supposed to be out there with everybody.”

Pullard grew up in Inglewood, Calif. and went to Crenshaw High School. Although he's had success in football, he says it wasn’t his first love.

“I didn’t even like to play football at first. To be honest, I played basketball – that was my love … My brother told me to play football, [and once I did] I hated running; I used to cry every day,” Pullard says with a laugh. “But [after that I realized] I like to hit. Hitting was my thing, and I fell in love with that and kept going, so I gave up basketball and pursued football.”

After playing in front of a crowd of 400 people, Pullard now shows off his talents in front of more than 70,000 dedicated USC fans and still is able to play close to home.

“USC is Los Angeles’ team, everyone loves SC. The fan base is crazy, and the connections we have all across the world too,” he says. “It feels real good [to play close to home]. All my friends and old teammates can still come see me at the games-and my brothers and sisters. I can be a role model for all the kids in the inner cities.”

Pullard is the second youngest in his family but feels he is looked up to the most since his father passed away. His expectations are high especially since he has his whole family supporting him. He wants to provide for his family and give them the best life he can. He not only has his family to look after, but also his 6-month-old son.

“I have a son, which is my pitbull, Jay,” says Pullard. “It’s hard being a father. You have to take care of him before you take care of yourself, and even when you want to be alone he comes up to me to play and cheers me up. No matter what, he’s always bringing a smile to my face. I love him to death.”

Pullard has big dreams to not only play in the NFL but to graduate from college and create some non-profit organizations in L.A. communities. He’s undecided right now, but plans to pursue a major in Policy, Planning and Development; thus creating programs to help the homeless, abused women and the youth.

During his free time he loves to play with Jay and “NCAA Football 12.” His favorite color is blue. He loves listening to T.I. and watching his favorite show, “The Boondocks” and movie, Love & Basketball. When you can’t find Pullard in the classroom or on the playing field, you can find him at home, aka the Palace, with his roommates that include Robert Woods and Anthony Brown.

“We call it the Palace because when we first moved in, we thought we [had] to think of a name. We were thinking of the palace in ancient Rome, and the Palace just stuck,” he says. “To live here is I’ve been with the bros since USC housing dorms. We created a bond, and now we moved it to living with each other.

Plus, we’re all playing on the field representing our home towns.”

Pullard is a humble, goofy person, but don’t mistake his niceness for weakness. Although he’s had a lot of success for a freshman, he stresses the importance of being humble, straying away from being arrogant and taking advantage of all the opportunities here at USC.

“It feels good coming behind all the great linebackers that played here. It’s a dream come true, I never thought people would be screaming my name, it’s a real blessing.”