COSTA MESA, Calif -- Larry Rountree III is a name you probably hadn't heard of until this week. The 2021 NFL Draft sixth-round pick has had a quiet rookie season with the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Raleigh, North Carolina native has just 34 carries for 82 yards through nine games.
"I'm finding new ways to seek knowledge of the game and become a better football player and build trust with my coaches and teammates so I can fulfill my duties in whatever they need me to do," Rountree said Thursday at Chargers practice.
One of those duties resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the first touchdown of his short NFL career.
"I was like you better get this ball in now," Rountree said. "I was like Larry, you're 220 pounds, you can't get the ball in on the 1-yard line? That was just in my head. It was just a moment ... you don't get those moments so you have to take the best of it, so I was like, 'I'm getting this ball in.'"
What happened after the touchdown is what had everyone talking.
"Just a little fraternity stuff, brothers of Omega Psi Phi," he said. "It was November, two days before founders day, so I was like why not be out for the bros."
Rountree celebrated with a dance dedicated to his fraternity brothers and hopes there's plenty more of that to come.
"I don't know the next time I will get in the end zone, but I know if I'm on the 1[-yard line] or whatever, I'm going to make the best of my opportunities," he said. "If I get in the end zone, just watch because I have more coming."
Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said Rountree is another rookie that is coming along as the season progresses.
"He's a lot better today than maybe he was eight weeks ago," Lombardi said." You're always working as a coaching staff on the development of those young players knowing that they're not ready to have the role that Austin [Ekeler] does or a veteran has and so just that experience ... down there on the goal line he's one of those guys, short yardage, that you feel like if we give him the ball he's going to get the yard we need."
"I just have to build trust," Rountree said. "It's my first year here. I just feel like trust and doing the little things and being sound and disciplined so they can trust me in big moments. It's a bridge that has to build over time.
"I'm still building on it right now."
Rountree said he leans on his teammates to help guide him through his first season in the league and help him on and off the field.
"I talk to Keenan [Allen] a lot, Austin a lot. Austin is in my room, he always helps me. JJ [Justin Jackson], JC Cook [Jared Cook], a little bit of everybody," Rountree said. "You're a rookie and you don't know much, but at the end of the day, I can say, 'Oh I know everything or I can seek some knowledge of how to take care of my body, what to do on and off the field.'"
Another person Rountree is leaning on, who has been there from the beginning, is his mother, Benita, who drove 14 hours to and from his college games at Mizzou, only missing one game during his four years.
"I be telling my mom to chill out, she don't have to do that no more," Rountree said. "My mom needs to take a little rest right now."
Benita has been to a few games this season, but watched her son's first touchdown in the league from the comfort of her own home.
"She was at home with a bunch of her friends and some of my friends," the Bolts' first-year back said. "It was great to see that. They all went crazy."