IRVINE, Calif. – Cooper Kupp’s dreams are bigger now, and so is the stage.
Twenty-two Los Angeles Rams rookies reported to fall camp on Wednesday, but Kupp was among the biggest stars on a picture-perfect afternoon on the campus of UC Irvine.
The former Davis star turned Eastern Washington All-American was the most intriguing subject for a media gaggle that dwarfed anything Kupp saw in four years in Cheney.
And it’s only July.
A dozen reporters were scratching the surface as they lobbed the same questions Kupp has heard for years. The biggest one: How did he go from being an overlooked high school wide receiver to a third-round NFL Draft pick?
It’s all about dreams, Kupp replied. “It’s not worth doing anything if you don’t want to be the best at it,” he said.
Kupp raised eyebrows when he talked about receiving zero offers from big-time schools, the same ones he lit up during a record-breaking four seasons at Eastern.
He admitted to the self-doubts, “the little voice in the back of your head that says ‘You can’t do this.’ ”
Then he warmed to his subject. For most of 10 minutes, Kupp talked about work ethic, self-confidence and the role models who helped him get this far. That included the Eastern Washington coaches and teammates who gave him a chance to shine.
“Every day, they were pushing themselves to be great,” said Kupp.
Now Kupp hopes to take greatness to the next level, like the NFL role models he’s studied for years. He rattled off the names: Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown and A.J. Green. All have differing styles, which Kupp hopes to meld to his own ends – and the end zone.
“There’s not just one way to play this game,” Kupp said.
The Rams have noticed. The coaches created a stir recently when they put Kupp atop the depth chart, but he shrugged that one off too. After all, the learning curve gets steeper with the opening of fall camp on Saturday.
“Right now I’m just excited,” Kupp said. “I understand the offense and I think it fits my game.”
And his dreams.