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Q&A: Seyi Ajirotutu

Posted Aug 5, 2011

The second-year wide receiver emerged last season with a two-touchdown, 111-yard performance at Houston. Discover the challenges he’s faced making the transition to the NFL and what it’s like being on the same team with former college roommate Ryan Mathews.

SAN DIEGO – From overlooked to surprise offensive contributor, wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu had an eventful rookie season. Ajirotutu now finds himself again competing for a roster spot with the Chargers this season.

With San Diego’s top three receivers out, Ajirotutu caught four passes for 111 yards against the Texans at Reliant Stadium on Nov. 7, two of them for long touchdowns, helping the Chargers secure their first road win of the season.

Ajirotutu (nicknamed “Tutu”) finished the season with 13 catches for 262 yards but none were bigger than his quartet against the Texans. Out to prove he’s more than a one-hit wonder, Ajirotutu benefits from a year of experience in Head Coach Norv Turner’s offense.

Frank Guerra; San Diego

What was the most difficult aspect of the game for you to adjust to coming from college to the pros?

The different alignments and assignments and basically the offense we run. Everything has a scheme and an exact place. You have to learn all of that before you can go out there and run routes and you have to understand what everyone else is doing.  The (Fresno State) system was a pro-style system, but the terminology was different. I had to transfer over what I remembered from Fresno State to the terminology here in San Diego. 

Tom Dodge; Lakeside, Calif.

How much of the process of becoming a good NFL receiver would you say is mental as opposed to physical?  

I would say it’s 65 percent mental, 35 percent physical. A lot of it is just knowing what you have to do and being a veteran. Veterans are in this league for a long time because of what they know, not because of what they do.

Bruce Osborn; Escondido, Calif.

Which past or current wide receiver is someone you model your game after or compare yourself to?

I admire (Texans receiver) Andre Johnson and (Cardinals receiver) Larry Fitzgerald. But I admire Vincent Jackson first and foremost. He’s great. Every day I just try and go out and do whatever he does because he gets it.   

Logan Logsdon; Tucson, Ariz.

What would you be doing career-wise if you had not gone pro in the NFL?

I got a degree in finance so I would be doing something in the financial industry. Maybe I’d be coaching. There are a lot of different options but I don’t know which one I would want to do.

Ruben Garcia; Placentia, Calif.

If you had to walk down a dark alley, which two Chargers teammates would you chose to go with you?

I’d say my roommate Ryan (Mathews) and then Marcus McNeill; he (McNeill) is my locker mate and he’s the biggest one (on our team). Ryan is my dude. That’s my guy. We’ve been through this together and hopefully we can continue this for as long as we possibly can.

Isaiah Vargas; San  Diego

When did you and Ryan Mathews first meet and how does it feel now that you are playing alongside your college roommate?

We met in 2007 at Fresno State and we were roommates our last year in college. It feels great being down here with him and I know it’s the same vice-versa. We trained together (this offseason) in San Diego and we’re working hard to do whatever we can to help this team out. 

Kijonnae McClay; San Diego

How did your parents come up with the name “Seyi” and what does it mean?

My name means “God has done this” because my father had three girls before me and I was his first son. So, there you have it, God has done this.

Brandon Tice; San Diego

You were selected as a first-team all-league defensive back as a junior in high school after making 70 tackles and five interceptions. Did you ever contemplate playing on the defensive side after high school?

In high school, I was recruited by Fresno State and a bunch of other places. Those other places wanted me to play safety but my senior year (in high school) I just played receiver and I had a breakout season. Then I realized I’d rather catch the ball than tackle people.

Francisco Vizcarra; Pico Rivera, Calif.

With a year under your belt, what advice would you give this year's class of undrafted rookies as they fight to earn roster spots?

First and foremost, it’s about your assignment and your alignment and then the rest will take care of itself. Obviously being a receiver and what comes with it is natural, but the offensive system is just so different. When you’re thinking and trying to play, there’s dropped balls and missed assignments. But if you know your assignment and alignment, in that order, you’ll be fine.

Miguel Garcia; Eureka, Calif.

Many people use the sayings “be persistent” or “practice makes perfect.” What life advice/quotes do you constantly tell yourself and associate with football?

People give me quotes all the time but I just read them, listen and think about them. There’s just so many of them that I don’t go off of just one and when I’m finally asked I don’t have an answer for it. I just try and relax and go out there and play as if I was 16 or 17 years old in high school. Obviously it takes skill to do certain things, but if you just go out there relaxed and play for your teammates, everything else will take care of itself.

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