Only Carroll wasn’t recruiting Mayowa. Instead, he wanted five-star recruit Shaquille Evans to play for him at USC.
“You know, I used to shake their hands and say hi to Pete; he’d say, ‘Oh yeah, where’s Shaq at?’ They used to recruit at my school all the time, but it didn’t happen for me,” Mayowa said.
Instead, Mayowa went to Idaho – and is now the Cinderella story of training camp. An undrafted free agent, the 6-foot-3, 236-pounder has been raising eyebrows since joining the club following the Northwest Regional Combine in March.
“That’s a good thing, ‘cause when I came up here, man, everybody was either calling me Inglewood or Idaho – so, making a name out here is a good thing,” Mayowa said.
“He’s done a really cool job in this camp,” Carroll said. “He’s shown an unusual knack for rushing the passer.”
It’s a trait everyone saw in San Diego last week, when Mayowa finished with one and a half sacks. With Chris Clemons recovering from knee surgery, Bruce Irvin slowed by a groin injury, and Cliff Avril still battling a hamstring injury, Mayowa continues to get chances to show he’s not just a flash in the pan.
“People think I’m not good enough, I’m not big enough, so, when I go into a preseason game, I just gotta prove that I belong, you know – and I can play with anybody, and I can beat anybody – that’s my attitude,” Mayowa said.
He embraces the underdog role and continues to believe no stage is too big.
Carroll might not have known who Mayowa was in high school or college, but you can be sure he does now.
“I remind him all the time,” Mayowa said.
Said Carroll: “Every day he’s made a play to gain some recognition, so I’m hopeful.”