Scott Quessenberry’s phone nearly jumped off his bed.
“I had it flipped over and it started vibrating,” he said. “When I turned it over it said, ‘Los Angeles Chargers.”’
Quessenberry, the former La Costa Canyon High standout, is headed for the NFL. He was selected by the Chargers in the NFL Draft’s fifth round and yeah, he’s still coming to grips with it.
“I can’t get the grin off my face,” Quessenberry said. “I’m so excited. I was a humongous Chargers fan and it’s pretty crazy how things go full circle and now I’m playing for them.”
That the team turning this UCLA Bruins offensive lineman into a Charger now calls L.A. home is odd. Quessenberry was raised as a San Diego Chargers booster and he was ticked when it moved after 56 seasons in these parts.
“I was a little bummed out but no hard feelings,” said Quessenberry, who started 13 games last season. “I’m an L.A. Charger and it’s all good.”
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the family’s considerable collection of Chargers gear.
“It all says SD on it,” he said.
When everyone was spreading the news that Quessenberry was a Charger, his mother sprung into action. She raced to a local sporting goods bent on cleaning out the shelves.
“She said, ‘We got to get some new stuff,”’ Quessenberry said. “I think she almost bought out the whole store.”
What lies ahead for Quessenberry is getting up to speed quickly. Offseason practices and training camp are around the corner in his quest to make the squad as an interior lineman. He played mostly center at UCLA, with some time at guard.
“I’ll do whatever is asked of me,” he said. “If for some reason they throw me out to play tackle, I’ll play tackle. I’ll even play jumbo tight end. Whatever it is, I will do it to the best of my ability.”
Tight end? How does a 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman fare running routes?
“Second to none,” he said with a wide smile.
That happy vibe didn’t stop with Quessenberry. Dale Henry, his offensive line coach at La Costa Canyon, was ecstatic as well.
“It’s kind of cool,” said Henry, a Carlsbad resident who recently capped his 44th year of coaching. “We were watching it and seeing the drama unfold. Then when they put his picture up on the TV screen my wife jumped up.”
Quessenberry soon dives into the NFL and Henry likes his chances. Henry mentioned Quessenberry’s work ethic and his ability to comprehend the complicated blocking schemes of the NFL.
“Scott is pretty tied into the secondary stuff of what pass protection the quarterback will see and then how he sets his protection,” Henry said. “Some of the NFL coaches he talked to before the draft gave him really high compliments on how he knew that stuff.”
That blocking stuff is in the family. Quessenberry’s older brother, David, is with the Houston Texans, one of four LCC players in the NFL.
“He told me to stay calm and whenever it happens, it happens,” the younger Quessenberry said of his brother’s draft-day advice. “All you need is the opportunity. It doesn’t matter how you get in it’s what you do when you get in that matters.”
When he arrives at the Chargers facility, he’ll have a new name for Philip Rivers.
“To be able to call him a teammate … I don’t even know how to describe it,” he said. “It is crazy.”
It’s bonkers that the Chargers left San Diego. But even in L.A., they will have a North County connection.
“To be close to home and having my loved ones being able to come watch me play it couldn’t have worked out better,” he said. “It’s really a surreal experience and I’m really, really excited and blessed to be a Los Angeles Charger.”
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports