When Jason Verrett was drafted in 2014, he became the highest-selected TCU Horned Frog taken in the first round of the draft since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001.
Although they went to the same college and were drafted to the same team, the cornerback began idolizing number 21 long before he stepped onto a professional field.
"I just remember when I was younger, I played running back and LT was my favorite running back even though I hated him because I was a Raiders fan growing up!" Verrett exclaimed. "He would score three touchdowns every game, and throw one to Gates. His preparation (made him so good)."
For Verrett, LT was a surefire pick as a first ballot Hall of Famer. After all, he's know this for a while. When Verrett was in college, he was hearing about the running back's greatness from the head coach they shared at TCU, Gary Patterson.
"I remembered LT went to a purple school, but I knew nothing about TCU. (When I got there,) Head Coach Gary Patterson would tell us how LT prepared each and every practice, each and every game. Just watching highlights of him and seeing him progressing from high school to college to the NFL and seeing what he would do, it's highly respectable. But my first time I got to TCU and once we were out (at practice), we would run what we would call the 'LT hill.' It was right behind our indoor facility."
Verrett said Patterson told the group how LT would run that hill after every practice. For Verrett, it was the only motivation he needed to hone his craft.
"When I was there and we used to do stuff, I was like 'Man, I have to run it so I can be like LT!' He was a legend at TCU and he's a legend here."
Little did Verrett know that after his college career, he and LT's paths would eventually cross. He even got LT's old locker when he became a Charger. But despite playing two different positions, it's hard to deny Verrett is following in LT's footsteps. He also wouldn't have that any other way.
"Just reminiscing about his legacy at TCU, and now me even being probably one of the best corners to ever play at TCU, is special. It's highly remarkable to see a guy like that, to know a person like that (and) be a fan of a him while meeting him and trying to take a little bit of his mindset and mentality. When you see him, you just want to listen to everything he says because you respect him on and off the field so much. He's like a big bro and I'm happy for him."