By Jordan Odiakosa
When Paul Royster was 8, he broke his right leg riding his bike when he tried to jump off of a ramp on a friendâs dare. Sitting in the hospital bed after his operation, Royster was struck with intense fear as to his future.
He knew he wouldnât be able to ride his bike for a few months, and he knew he wouldnât be able to play tag with his friends at recess.
But what caused him the most apprehension was a simple question: would he ever be able to play football with his brothers?
With six older brothers, five of whom played football at the collegiate level, Royster takesÂ football seriously.
With this kind of legacy, Royster took football seriously, even as a young child.
Roysterâs father, a track star who competed in various tournaments around the world in his youth, blessed Paul and his five older brothers with speed, agility and athletic ability.
Four of Roysterâs brothers played Division 1 football at Pittsburgh, Portland, USC and Harvard, and his brother Mazio Royster successfully matriculated to the the NFL, playing for four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Roysterâs father, Stanley, is 60-years-old, but only recently was Paul able to beat his father in a 100 meter sprint. Its this kind of athletic ability that Stanley Royster passed on to his six sons.
For Royster, Division 1 football represents a goal that he has been dreaming of since childhood; his brothersâ achievments have only served to motivate him more.
Roysterâs family history and natural ability to play football often lead people to believe that he was born with a football clutched in his arms, but that is not the case. In fact, Royster only started playing organized football in seventh grade.
âI have been only playing since I started at Harvard-Westlake, yet kids think that I have been playing Pop-Warner my whole life,â he said.
Royster played basketball in and out of school, but his main experiences with football came from watching and training with his older brothers.
At the age of 7, Royster watched as his brother, Mazio Royster, was drafted in the 11th round by Tampa Bay Buccaneers from USC.
âMy brother was my favorite player growing up, and I still follow his former teamsâ Royster said.
Mazio Royster was a standout at USC, gaining 203 yards in his first start during his sophomore season and was a Heisman candidate during his junior season. Mazio left early to the NFL, but only lasted four years due to numerous knee injuries.
The Royster family legacy doesnât just end at football; Jerry Royster, a former manager and player in the MLB, is Roysterâs uncle. Roysterâs mother played tennis at UCLA. Royster attributes his natural ability to watching his brothers playing football growing up and the constructive criticism that they giveÂ him.
âAfter every game they would show up and critique me, and tell me stuff like I need to get lower when I hit the holes,â Royster said. âHaving five brothers can be chaotic, but its great to have so many people to look up to.â
Among his many goals, Royster has one more thing to acclomplish. âI have to beat my dad in the mile,â he said.