We’re here with former Trojan wide receiver Chris McFoy. Thank you for meeting with us, Chris. Did you grow up wanting to play for USC?
Actually, no. I wanted to play for UCLA. During the Hackett years when they had Farmer, the receiver, and the jersey colors. When I saw the names on the jerseys, I thought that was cool and that I wanted to go there.
So how’d you end up at USC?
When I visited UCLA, Bob Toledo was there and he wasn’t sure he was staying or leaving. The program looked like it wasn’t going anywhere. As far as with Coach Carroll, they had more of a drive and you could feel that energy. Besides USC and UCLA, I was getting offers from Notre Dame, Washington, and Arizona. I didn’t want to leave California. As soon as [USC] offered, I committed.
What particular USC athletes helped in recruiting you?
Keary Colbert. I met him at Junior Day. I was talking to him most of the time. He and John Walker sold me on the school, along with Coach Carroll. They’re good motivators.
You have a reputation for being one of the best blocking receivers on the team. Was it difficult to have more of an assisting role in college, versus high school, where you provided key blocks to help other people score?
Yeah. At times. It’s normal. Everyone wants to be the dude. Any chance you get, you got to maximize it. I’m gonna do the best to get the job done. It actually humbled me. Me, coming from Chino, I thought I was going to be the man. But I learned a lot playing that role.
It’s a tribute to your skill that despite coming out of a high school (Chino) that ran the ball a lot, you still ended up being a key receiver for a school like USC. You averaged 10 yards per carry and you also started in many games.
It’s all hard work and determination. Being able to deal with everything, such as school, coaches, parents, and so on. In high school I was the big fish in the small pond. [Here at USC] it was a similar role, minus the touchdowns. It didn’t really hurt me, and I didn’t really think much of it. After all, I’m playing at a big school and actually playing.
How was Lane Kiffin as a position coach?
He was a good coach. We did have our times when we bumped heads, but towards the end we understood each other and we are cool now. It just took me a while to know his personality. Before him, there were Coach Wilson and Coach Walker. They were the ones that recruited me.
You said in a prior interview with WeAreSC that you would not know how to react once you got your first touchdown. Talk about the joy you felt when you did get that first touchdown, this year against Washington State.
It was probably both the most amazing and devastating day. I was happy to get that monkey off my back. But the next play, I get hurt, and I’m out for seven games. We practiced that specific play a lot the week before the game. When Steve Smith caught that deep pass where it was a play action corner post and he caught it in the middle, the next play, they throw me in, and so I’m thinking it’s a sweep. But then they call my play and I’m like, “Oh shoot!” And so I line up and motion in. The defense didn’t even have a defender on me because they thought it was going to be a run and so when they hiked it, the safety just ran past me, and I stuck with my route and caught it! (Smiles.)
Did you keep the ball?
It’s at the house right now, actually. I look at it every day before I go to sleep. I signed it myself in case I want to sell it on Ebay in case I become famous. Just kidding. (Laughs.)
Following that game, you missed seven games due to your injury. Talk about the ups and downs of not playing those seven games.
It was tough, especially when we lost to Oregon State. I felt I could’ve helped the team out. Before the game against Washington, Dwayne [Jarrett] was hurt, and he didn’t even make the trip. It was hard because all the burden was on Steve [Smith] and even Steve went down during one of those games and so PT [Patrick Turner] had to step it up. For me it was disappointing because I felt that it was my opportunity to do something and put my name out there. It was hard to deal with it but I got through it in a positive way by doing treatment and doing the rehab.
One of the games you missed was the ASU game. Did your brother, Ryan, who plays safety for the Sun Devils, give you grief for being injured, since he might have gone head to head against you?
He would’ve guarded me. He goes in at nickel and when we run a three wide, he’s in and he would have gone against me. He’s always talking and I just wanted to “humble” him a little bit. (Laughs.) I’m proud of him. He’s doing his thing out there.
Talk about the rehab and your motivation to return to the field.
I remember I would try to bribe Russell Romano, the trainer, to let me suit up. I would tell him that I’m ready to go and to tape me up but I still couldn’t lift my arm up. I always tried to wear my pads when we would go out.
You came back from injury and scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl.
It was a good closure to my career at USC. I wouldn’t trade or change anything of how it was at USC. If I had another year, I would do it again. It was a hard road but it was fun. College sports can’t be replaced. When you’re in the pros, it’s not the same. It’s a business there. It’s not as fun as college.
You almost didn’t return your senior year because of an opportunity with a sports company.
At the time, I felt like my body couldn’t survive another year, and I thought about getting a 9-5 job, but then I came to my senses. I didn’t want to grow up just yet.
You caught passes from two Heisman trophy winners in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Talk about the differences between the two.
Carson’s a beast. He’s amazing. He’s probably the best quarterback I’ve caught passes from. Carson knew the game so good. He could throw the ball hard and far. Matt had those same qualities and was more of a finesse player, but Carson would just stick it to you.
What’s your favorite moment at USC on the field?
The Rose Bowl touchdown. It was a sweep play action where they think it’s a sweep to the left and so I just do an over route. It gets them every time.
What’s your favorite moment at USC off the field?
Probably my second to last year. I had a group of friends on the team and after practice, we would unwind and play Halo against each other or any other game. Drew Radovich and others would be on it the same time as I was. We would be screaming at each other on the headsets. (Laughs.)
Are you as good at table tennis as your father (who played professionally) is?
My dad’s the champ at the house, but I can still swing the paddle.
What memories do you have of Mario Danelo?
I was his roommate. Me, Drew [Radovich], and Mario shared an apartment. We would always play FIFA on the Xbox. He was a funny guy. He was really laid back.
How is the future of the wide receiver position at USC?
They’re all talented. They’ll dominate. PT is the big dude. He’s a mix of Dwayne Jarrett and Mike Williams. Vidal Hazelton is like Steve Smith. He’s physical and can run routes well. Travon and Jamere will be good quick route runners. Ausberry is like another Mike Williams. He is good. He was killing them when he was on the service team.
How is training for the NFL Combine going?
It’s good. I’m progressing. I need to work on my speed and my explosiveness as well as strength too.
You recently took part in the Hula Bowl and made a good showing.
I thought I did good. It was kind of different because I was one of the biggest receivers there. I caught a few passes. They kept rotating us every play and so it was hard to get a good rhythm because they were trying to get everyone equal playing time.
What kind of receiver do you see yourself as in the NFL?
Probably like a Dante Hall type of player. Being a third down receiver and involved with special teams.
After football, what are your career plans?
Probably working at that sports firm in Santa Monica. I would like to work in the sports industry and start a family. (McFoy double-majored and graduates in May with a B.A. degree in Economics and Political Science.)
Anything else you’d like to say to the USC Community?
It’s an honor to be part of the Trojan Family. Even though I am done, the classmen still in the program will continue the legacy and keep winning. As long as Coach Carroll is here, we’ll be fine. I love everyone, and Fight on!