Veteran safety T.J. McDonald spent his entire NFL career with the Rams. After being selected in the third round during the 2013 NFL Draft, He has 221 overall tackles, 168 of them being solo tackles.
McDonald comes from a family of football players; his father, Tim, is the Defensive Back coach for the Buffalo Bills and his younger brother Tevin played for the Raiders during the 2015 season.
McDonald, attended USC and played football just like his father. Tim had a 13-year career in the NFL, his talent led him to six Pro Bowls.
Tim coached McDonald and Tevin during their years at Edison High School in Fresno. His tutelage has prepared McDonald for the professional level.
“Even though he was hard on me, it was for a reason,” McDonald said. “He said the biggest thing is to walk quietly and carry a big stick, meaning be humble, but also confident.”
After graduating from high school, Tevin played football at UCLA and Eastern Washington. He earned All-Big Sky Conference first team honors in 2014.
“It was a blessing to be able to play together and watch him grow,” McDonald said.
McDonald’s efforts at Edison received several accolades in 2008. He was elected to be in the All-CIF Central Section, Cal-Hi Sports All-State First Team, and the ESPN 150. McDonald also was a Super Prep All-American and a member of the Golden State Preps All Southern California first team.
The next year, he was a backup strong safety at USC and earning experience by playing on special teams. McDonald shined in his sophomore year as a starting free safety and led the team with 89 tackles. He also captured three interceptions and blocked one punt. McDonald earned 2010 All-Pac-10 Second Team honors and Phil Steele All-Pac-10 first team honors.
“I put in more work at the Coliseum than I had my whole NFL career so far,” McDonald said.
As his career in Troy continued, McDonald earned more accolades. In 2011 and 2012, he became a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, an annual award for the best defensive back in college football.
He received All-American First Team honors from Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly. McDonald became the first second-generation Trojan All-American first team selection in the school’s history.
McDonald recalled the 2011 rivalry game where the Trojans demolished UCLA 50-0 at the Coliseum. The win culminated the Trojan’s season.
“We were under a bowl ban, so we couldn’t go to no bowl game,” McDonald said. “[They are] two schools that have respect for each other, but don’t like each other.”