- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
We know that every NFL player is extremely talented. They wouldn't have made it this far if they weren't. But playing in the NFL is more than just physical talent. So to find out what drives them, focuses their energy and mind and is important to them, I asked several Jaguars the following question: "Who was and is your biggest football influence?"
The answers were diverse and interesting.
Today we find out about former Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, a sixth-year player from Norco, California.
Who was your biggest football influence growing up?
Gerhart:For me it’s always been my parents. My dad [Todd] was a high school football coach, and I can remember running across the living room and him throwing us footballs and diving and catching them on the couch. Then as soon as I could walk, I was out there on the football field with him. I started off as a water boy for years, then became a ball boy and was always around football. My dad, as always, coached us hard. My mom’s always been there for us and driven us kids around. I come from a family of six so my parents, most definitely.
So your dad started you at the bottom of the football ladder?
Gerhart: I started at the lowest level, out there hanging out just running around toting the water. My mom [Lori] has some classic pictures of me as a tiny little kid carrying the big thing of water running out there on the football field on a Friday night. I worked my way up, I guess you can say. I grew up on a football field, and when I was a kid dreamed of playing high school football for my hometown, and it continued to grow from there.
Did you play for your dad?
Gerhart: I played for my dad my junior and senior year. He took over the head job at the high school [Norco High School] and played for him my final two years. My brother [Garth] is a year younger than me -- he’s with the Packers practice squad over there -- so we played together for my dad. We won the [section] championship my senior year and then they won the championship the year after with him again. I had three sisters, and they played softball so he didn’t coach them, obviously. My little brother [Coltin] played for him as well, who is now going to Arizona State to play quarterback there.