Calen Bullock: A Heartfelt Tribute – How USC’s Star Player Honors His Late Grandmother on the Field

Calen Bullock, the junior safety for USC, has captured the hearts of both fans and teammates with his exceptional performance on the football field. However, his journey is about much more than just sports. In this article, we delve into how USC’s Calen Bullock honors his late grandmother through his play and the remarkable story behind it.

The Inspiration Behind the Play


At a critical moment during a game against Arizona, Calen Bullock rallied his teammates with a fiery spirit that they had never witnessed before. Down 17-0, he bellowed, "Lock! The! F—! In!" This intense display of leadership was not just a random burst of energy; it was inspired by his late grandmother, Maggie McDaniels.

Maggie, a strong and beloved woman, was the pillar of her family. She lived to see her family thrive across generations. Following her untimely passing due to cardiac arrest, the family gathered to share fond memories of her. Their laughter and stories uplifted Calen, and he knew he had to play for her. He kept a video of Maggie wishing him good luck for games, a constant reminder of her support.

A Grandmother’s Love

Maggie played a pivotal role in Calen’s life, especially after he lost his father at the tender age of 10. He lived with his grandmother in Pasadena, who took care of him like a loving mother. From school runs to academic support, Maggie was always there for Calen. In his own words, she was his superhero. The bond they shared was unbreakable.

A Family’s Sacrifice

Calen’s mother, Annette, moved to Palmdale seven years ago, but he stayed with his grandmother in Pasadena to be close to his friends and his tight-knit community. His family’s support was unwavering, making sure he had everything he needed, even when his mother was an hour’s drive away. The sacrifices they made for Calen’s future were immeasurable.

The Road to USC

Choosing USC over numerous colleges was a significant milestone in Calen’s life. When he made that decision, his mother, Annette, cried tears of joy. She was delighted that her son would be just 15 miles away from their hometown of Pasadena, a testament to the journey they had undertaken.

Calen’s tattoo, "Kings Villages," on his left upper arm reminds him of his roots. He grew up in a low-income apartment complex with his grandmother and was introduced to football by his mother to keep him away from the streets.

A Rising Star

Calen’s football journey was marked by success, from his youth football days, where he earned the nickname "Super Glue" for his catching ability, to his time at Muir High, where he was known as "Sticks" for his slender build. His transition to college football was seamless, and he was named a freshman All-American in 2021.

In his sophomore year, he solidified his place as a first-team All-American, excelling as a free safety and achieving a remarkable five interceptions in a season, the most for a USC player since Adoree’ Jackson in 2016.

USC’s Calen Bullock – A True Inspiration

Calen Bullock, USC, Safety

USC’s Calen Bullock’s journey is a story of resilience, family support, and the power of love. He carries the memory of his late grandmother, Maggie, with him on every play. His journey from a close-knit community in Pasadena to becoming a football star at USC is nothing short of inspiring. As he continues to honor his grandmother through his play, he reminds us all of the importance of family, sacrifice, and the determination to overcome challenges.

In a world often focused solely on wins and losses, Calen Bullock’s story is a powerful reminder that the true essence of sports lies in the stories of the athletes themselves and the incredible journeys that shape them.

The Role of Family in Bullock’s Success

How did Calen Bullock find the will to play?

Calen Bullock, the USC safety, faced a challenging task after the loss of his beloved grandmother, Maggie McDaniels. USC was struggling on the field, with star receivers running wide open and trick plays embarrassing the Trojans. Yet, the memory of his grandmother’s unwavering support and love inspired him. In the face of adversity, he found the will to play and dominate, knowing that it was what she would have wanted. Despite the team’s difficulties, Calen’s determination and his grandmother’s memory became his driving force.

Why did Bullock Scream ‘lock the f’in’?

In a pivotal moment during a game, Calen Bullock, the junior safety for USC, yelled, "Lock! The! F—! In!" as he rallied the USC defense. This passionate outburst, marked by wide eyes and a booming voice, was a sight his teammates had never witnessed. Their immediate response showed their readiness to give their all. But what fueled this fiery moment? Bullock’s intense motivation stemmed from a deep and personal source, which became the driving force behind his spirited leadership.

Where did Calen Bullock grow up?

Calen Bullock’s roots are deeply tied to a low-income apartment complex in Pasadena, where he spent his formative years living with his grandmother. A poignant reminder of his upbringing is the tattoo "Kings Villages" inked on his left upper arm. Annette, his mother, wisely kept her children engaged in sports to provide them with positive activities and keep them away from the challenges of the streets.

When does Calen Bullock return an interception?

Calen Bullock showcases his exceptional skills by returning interceptions for touchdowns in crucial moments. A prime example is his interception return for a touchdown against Rice in September 2022, a testament to his playmaking abilities. Whether it’s intercepting passes or contributing to game-changing plays, Bullock’s impact on the field is undeniable. His ability to turn interceptions into touchdowns is a defining feature of his football career.

How did Calen Bullock honor his late grandmother at USC?

Calen Bullock paid a heartfelt tribute to his late grandmother, Maggie McDaniels, through his extraordinary play at USC. Despite the emotional challenges he faced after her passing, he found the strength to continue on the football field. Bullock’s determination and passion to play and dominate were his way of honoring his beloved grandmother’s memory. His performance became a living tribute, reflecting the deep bond they shared.

Did Calen Bullock score a touchdown at United Airlines Field?

Yes, Calen Bullock made an impressive touchdown at United Airlines Field. In a game against the Rice Owls on September 3, 2022, while the USC Trojans were playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Bullock intercepted a pass and ran past Eric Gentry, scoring a touchdown. This remarkable play contributed to the Trojans taking a commanding 28-7 lead during the second quarter of the game. Calen Bullock’s ability to turn interceptions into touchdowns is a testament to his impact on the field.

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