Guys That Never Give Up
By Jamil Muhammad
When I lock my helmet and let cleats bite into the turf, I shoulder a legacy built by our Trojan family — from Heisman heroes to devoted fans. Our jerseys have no names on the back because the names we defend have never been just our own. It’s about every Trojan that's come before us and every dreamer after. Everyone has their own unique story here. And in that collective spirit, my story unfolds with the resilience of a fighter.
Ambition has always been my North Star, tattooed on my arm as a permanent reminder to chase dreams with relentless resolve. It’s a lesson I’ve learned from my family, rooted in hustle and grit. My mom and dad scrapped, persevered to give my family the opportunity to pursue our own goals, showing us that ambition isn’t a word, but our lifeblood. Success always leaves clues. So, when I tore my ACL in high school, wiping out my college offers overnight, it never crossed my mind to hang up my cleats. My mom’s voice echoed, reminding me that adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.
But this journey goes beyond a string of plays or a season's stats. It's about growth — in the classroom, on the field, as a son, brother, future father. Time off the field has been an unsung mentor — time with my family, the irreplaceable treasure of seeing my siblings evolve in their own playing fields. These moments off the gridiron further my purpose and fortitude.
Resilience runs through my DNA. Whether it be as an NFL teammate, in a boardroom, or at home, my ultimate goal will always be to maximize every gift that God and life offer. There’s no falling back, we only fall forward. Our struggles are not stumbling blocks but steppingstones, leading us toward new horizons. In short, give everything you have as our uphill battles lead us to new opportunities. We either let our thoughts get the best of us or we get the best out of our thoughts.
I’ll be honest, I’ve hit the turf more times than I can count. I’ve fumbled passes, missed tackles, and lost games I should’ve won. But each setback I overcome leads me to be the man I aim to be.
From the time I was five years old, I always dreamed of playing quarterback. My older brother Terrance was the superstar. Everyone looked to him, counted on him; reliable and trustworthy, even in the toughest moments, is exactly how I want to be. But life’s playbook doesn’t always run how you envision. So, when faced with a difficult choice, I decided to make the switch from Hail Mary dreams to linebacker grit because I’ve never been one to stand on the sidelines, especially when my team needs me. Being resilient means being committed and loyal; being down for everyone who's down for you.
Football mirrors life. Every snap, every tackle, every pass echoes the bigger game we’re all playing. We get knocked down; we rise. We lose ground, then we regain it.
Our team has faced hardship and challenges this season. From injuries to unexpected defeats, we’ve all seen it. But there's a reason the rearview mirror is smaller than the windshield, where you're going is so much more important than where you've been. With three guaranteed games left in our year, we’re not looking back. This Saturday, it’s more than a game. It’s redemption on a 100-yard stage.
Los Angeles is our backdrop, but the story is universal. We strive for more, aiming to outdo ourselves every day. When I take the field, I carry that commitment – for my family, my teammates, and myself.
So just watch us this Saturday. When the lights go on, we become more than men in the arena. We’re a family united in purpose and fight. Our journey doesn’t wear us down; it sharpens us, making us better with each game, each play, each moment. The path ahead is singular, leading to one final destination: victory. Reaching it demands more than talent and skill; it calls for an unwavering spirit laser-focused on achieving greatness. We’re relentless. We’re tireless. Guys that just never give up.