LAS VEGAS — Cordell Broadus
broke free from Southern California to breathe a little, to slow down somewhat from all the hubbub and TMZ reporting, to live a more "normal" high school life.
Then again, when you're the son of a celebrity the scope of Snoop Dogg — born Calvin Broadus — words such as "normal," "ordinary," and "common," don't seem to apply.
Especially when you're a big-time college football recruit like Cordell, a fluid and strong 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver, the No. 11 receiver (114th overall) in the country for his class, according to
But talk to his new brethren in the scorching, wide open spaces of Nevada, at his new high school Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
, and you'll hear nothing but words like "grounded," "humble," "well-rounded" and even "mild-mannered."
He smiles often around his new teammates, slaps hands, jokes and even hugs.
One week into his senior year, one game into the season, the transfer from Diamond Bar (Calif.)
said between the school, his teammates and coaches, the student body, the college-like facilities, the big-time program — the Gaels are ranked No. 9 by MaxPreps
and No. 1 by USA Today — the move couldn't be going much more perfectly.
It's also a good, clear place to figure out his college choice. His finalist are reportedly UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Oregon State and Florida State. He said Saturday that his recruiting "is wide open."
"I really like it out here," he said. "It's quiet. It's a great atmosphere to just focus on academics and football. I'm just trying to focus on those two things, and then ball out on Fridays."
He called last Friday, which featured a raucous pep rally followed by an impressive 44-0 win over Brophy Prep (Phoenix) before 6,000 brightly-orange clad fans, one of the best days he's ever had in school.
He didn't have a big game by his standards — four catches for 35 yards and no touchdowns. But afterward he soaked in all the orange. He was mobbed by Gorman's student body. He took countless photos, slapped countless hands, gave numerous hugs.
He embraced it all, like his teammates have embraced him (Broadus transferred to Gorman in January).
"He's obviously a great kid," said senior two-way lineman Jackson Perry
, a 3.75 student who has football offers to Nebraska, UCLA and Ivy Leagues schools. "He's very stout, but also very quiet. I don't think we were expecting him to be as quiet as he is."
Said Notre Dame-bound safety Nicco Fertitta
: "I don't think of him as a celebrity kid. I think of him as a humble kid, a well-round individual. If you didn't know who he was, you'd have no idea that he's the son of a famous rapper. He's such a good individual. He's the type of guy you want to be around."
Said senior co-captain and middle linebacker Nela Otukolo
, who transferred from Hawaii before his junior year: "The dude has made not just a huge impact on our team, but the school in general. The student body loves him. He's just the type of kid everyone rallies around."
It might help that Gorman kids and faculty are used to celebrity athletes and their sons on campus.
Last year's starting quarterback, Randall Cunningham Jr., is the son of the former NFL quarterback by the same name. The basketball team has Julian Payton (son of NBA Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton), the baseball squad, Chase Maddux
(son of Hall of Fame pitcher Gregg Maddux). Fertitta, himself, is the son of UFC Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Fertitta.
The granddaddy of all celebrities is
, a sophomore running back on the team and the grandson of Muhammad Ali. He and Broadus have formed a nice bond, and can certainly relate to living in, out and around fame.
In fact, Walsh and Broadus were first acquainted at a star-studded Ali birthday party in Las Vegas two years ago at which Snoop Dogg performed.
"What I really like about Cordell is he has so much going for him being a great football player and being the son of Snoop Dogg, but yet he's just this super nice and humble kid," Walsh said. "He could be arrogant and get away with it, but he chooses not to. That makes him so much cooler."
As good as the change of scenery has been for Broadus, he can't seem to get away from the Southland. By coincidence, Gorman coach Tony Sanchez scheduled four Southern California opponents, starting Friday against Servite (Anaheim)
, the nation's No. 12 team, at Cerritos College.
Upwards of 25,000 fans are expected for the regionally televised game, about 100 of them being Broadus' family.
He's also quite familiar with many of the Servite players, including highly-touted quarterback Travis Waller
. The two exchanged good-natured barbs at Nike's The Opening during the summer in Oregon.
"We just talked about how we're going to get after it on Aug. 29," Broadus said. "Those guys (at Servite) are great guys and competitors. I can't wait to go against them."Here's a Q&A with Broadus conducted Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after Gorman's win over Brophy Prep.Mitch Stephens:
How was watching film? Was it better or worse than you remember it?
There's always room for improvement in our eyes. MS:
So, how has the transition been from Southern California to Las Vegas? CB:
Yes, a big change. I've gotten used to it. My teammates are real welcoming. It seems everyone has a great experience here. We're just all trying to improve as individuals. MS:
But this must be a big difference compared to Los Angeles. CB:
It's very different, starting with the weather. I mean, really different. Other than that, I really like it out here. It's quiet. There's a great atmosphere to just focus on academics and football. I'm just trying to focus on those two things. And then ball out on Fridays. MS:
I would think it's hard to focus on anything being you. Everyone is watching you. Is that a burden or a blessing?CB:
It's something I was born into. I didn't ask for it. With a father like mine, I guess you should expect all eyes on me, for cameras to follow me around. I just really try to ignore it and be real, just be myself and be a team player. I just try to contribute to the team. MS:
What about the transition to a new place right before your senior year? That would seem to be doubly tough. CB:
No, it's going great. Friday was one of the best days I've ever had living out here, because the fans and community came out and supported us and we all played with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. We ended the day with a "W" and that was the main goal, to go 1-0. Since January, we've been talking about going 1-0. MS:
So one huge adjustment for you — the orange thing. Everything you wear now involves orange. CB:
I was all about purple and gold, but now everything — shoes, shirt, everything, is orange and blue. It's all about the brand. MS:
Did you have any athletic idols growing up? Posters of athletes in your room?
I really like Dez Bryant and how he catches the ball and makes plays up the field. I like Randy Moss. He goes up and gets the ball. I like A.J. Green. But Dez is my favorite receiver. MS:
Is it going to be odd going right back to Southern California and play? CB:
I know, right? I know all the teams we're going to be playing. I know all the guys because I've been playing against them since I was little. It's sort of crazy. MS:
Are you looking forward to it or dreading it? CB:
I think it's going to be fun. It will be easy for my family to come and watch and support me. Out here I don't have family other than my mother and father and sister, so it's definitely something I'm looking forward to. I just want to have fun with my teammates. MS:
So how many family members are going to be out there Friday? CB:
Probably 100. My auntie sent out a big text message for everyone to go. It's my grandmother's birthday on Sunday, so everyone is going to the game on Friday. MS:
So what did your dad say about Friday's game? You both looked like you were having a good time. CB:
It was all positive. He liked what he saw. He liked everything.