A Look At USC's Charlie Landrigan
If you're looking for a throwback to the football players of old, look no further than USC fullback Charlie Landrigan.
The 6-0, 225-pound junior may have spent his high school days soaking up the rays at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo, Calif., but his formative years were spent in the heart of Big Ten country. For much of his youth, he lived in Austin, Minn., a town of 25,000 where Hormel Foods is the main employer and hockey is king. It was there that he learned that it pays to play tough.
"In order to be a good fullback at USC, you have to commit yourself to blocking," said Landrigan, who was born in Ottumwa, Ia. "You have to come out with your chinstrap buckled tight or you'll get blown up."
Landrigan's old-school approach even extends to the kind of music to which he listens.
"I'm a big fan of Frank Sinatra's music," Landrigan said. "My mother always used to play him and I'd try to switch the channel to some modern music. Before I knew it, I started to really like it. My favorite song is 'Summer Wind.' When I'm in a personal mood, I'll listen to it. The ballads he sings are fun to sing along with."
Sometimes he finds Sinatra's music can really hit home.
"After the Oregon State loss, I listened to 'When No One Cares,' and it really seemed appropriate," he said.
Landrigan started USC's last nine games in 1999, catching 11 passes for 64 yards (he did not carry the ball). This season, he has started every game and has three catches for 17 yards. He also has had a few chances to run the ball.
"I'm not known for my running ability," said Landrigan, who has carried the ball three times for nine yards this season. "A lot of fullbacks try to be tailbacks out there. But at USC, you must realize that you are a blocker first."
In high school, Landrigan played fullback, but was also an All-Orange County linebacker. He had 124 tackles and four sacks his senior year. He believes that his time as a linebacker helped to prepare him for playing fullback.
"Fullback is a lot like linebacker in that there are a lot of collisions going on," said Landrigan. "The fullback is like the linebacker of the offense. It's been a while since I've played linebacker, but I've always had that defensive mentality."
For a while, Landrigan had his heart set on returning to play in the Big Ten, but as a basketball player, not a football player.
"I always wanted to play basketball for the Iowa Hawkeyes, who were my team growing up," said Landrigan, whose family moved to California during his junior high years. "But by my freshman year of high school, I realized that I wasn't that good of a basketball player and that football was my future. When it came time to choose a school, I was more than thrilled to pick USC. I really wanted to stay local."
Landrigan's decision to play at USC was made easier when his high school backfield mate, tailback Malaefou MacKenzie, also chose to join the Trojans.
"I still remember the day we decided to go to USC," recalled Landrigan. "We talked about how great it would be to someday be seniors and be running and blocking for each other. We've continued our friendship here and we enjoy representing our hometown."
One day, if he gets his chance, Landrigan hopes to represent his hometown constituents in the realm of politics. The political science major is an avid Republican whose family history is intertwined with the Grand Old Party.
"My grandfather was the County Commisioner in Pembina County, North Dakota, which is in the Red River Valley in the Northwest corner of the state," said Landrigan. "I remember going to his house and seeing the Republican elephant everywhere. Someday, I might run for office myself."
Landrigan already has some experience running for elective office.
"I ran for a lot of things in high school," Landrigan said. "I was my class president. Then I ran for school president my senior year and lost out to my ex-girlfriend. I had actually run just to spite her, but things didn't work out!"
For now, Landrigan is content with his role as a USC fullback, where it doesn't take votes to be a winner.
By Chris Huston,
Assistant Sports Information Director