Pasadena (Calif.) four-star cornerback Kevon Seymour is about people, not numbers.
In an article written by Rivals.com Tuesday, Seymour was painted as ungrateful and unhappy about wearing No. 41 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 7. Nothing could be further from the truth, and Seymour was eager to explain why.
"When they handed me the No. 41, it had my name on the back of it," said Seymour. "I wear No. 1 in high school, and I've worn the No. 7 and other numbers in Pop Warner.
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"I joked about the No. 41 not being a corner's number, and even Brian Nance said that he wished our names weren't on the jersey's because he'd rather have No. 41 as a linebacker and he would give me No. 15.
"It was a joke, but it wasn't written that way. It made me sound like I was disrespecting the Army. That's not me, that's not what I said. That's not the person I am, so it bothered me.
"I'm not cocky and basing my decision off of which school gives me the No. 1. That's ridiculous."
The story, which received more than 10 million views in 48 hours, did not quote Seymour, but did attribute several players at the Army All-American team hotel. Seymour did not read the story before it was read by his brother, mother and friends back home.
"I got calls from people like I was tripping of off wearing No. 41. Like I was unhappy and complaining about it," said Seymour. "I'm here to represent my hometown of Pasadena, not worry about a number. I just want people to know that."
Adversity has been a very real aspect of Seymour's life. Coming from a single family home as a child where his mother works all hours as a nurse, Seymour was raised in the Kings Village apartment complex, also known as the Snake Pits.
Seymour has been able to stay out of trouble and is on track to graduate with a 3.2 GPA. Shedding tears at his Army All-American ceremony last fall, Seymour is as genuine as it comes on the recruiting meat market.
"I was thinking about it and I realize I've been through situations like this before, but on a smaller scale," said Seymour. "This is a step up, and it's an experience I'll learn from. Other things will come up in the future and this won't seem so bad."
Seymour will wear the West Army All-American No. 41 jersey Saturday and wear it proudly. During the game, Seymour plans to end his recruitment by making his college on national television.
He will choose among scholarship offers from Cal, USC, UCLA and Oregon. His selections reinforce that jersey numbers are not Seymour's main concern.
"No. 1, No. 2, No. 27 ... there is no number that is Kevon Seymour. No tattoos, no birth marks. You can ask Lane Kiffin and these other coaches, I don't bring up talking about numbers. There are more important things to think about."
USC does not hand out jersey numbers to in-coming freshmen by request. By policy, Lane Kiffin asks underclassmen to earn the right to wear specific numbers.
Seymour has yet to test that policy with Kiffin.
"No, because I never asked about it," said Seymour. "UCLA told me they would give me No. 1, but I never once went to USC and asked about that. If I was that obsessed about a jersey number, I'd be committed to UCLA right now.
"Lane Kiffin doesn't even hand out numbers like that. They don't have a No. 1 on the roster, and they say you have to work for your number at USC. I wouldn't even consider USC if a jersey number was that big of a deal."
College coaches swarmed Muir High School last month wooing Seymour with in-home visits and red carpet trips to Seattle, Eugene and Berkeley. Even other All-Americans have been courting Seymour all week for a commitment.
"Yeah, like Cal and Jordan Payton, he's been sending out emails and stuff asking, 'Where are you going, Seymour?' I don't know. "He's like, 'I'm going to Cal. We've got commits already. We got Seymour.' I hate to start naming but he's like 'We got Jabari too.' It's funny though."
But with all of the hype that surrounds recruiting at this time of year, Seymour wanted to make it clear that he understands his place as a recruit.
"Like USC, that is a top notch program," said Seymour. "You think USC is going to bow down to Kevon Seymour and promise me No. 1 if I would go there? They have all of these other recruits in the world.
"You think they're going to beg me? That's makes no sense. I'm going to a school to become a part of a family. I'm going there to become a part of a team and have fun. I want to get through college and enjoy my life."
USCFootball.com will continue to bring you the latest on Kevon Seymour, including exclusive coverage from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 7.