“Right when I knew I was going to L.A., I was like, ‘All right, y’all like this is gonna be a big game for me,” the 22-year old cornerback told reporters on Wednesday.
The 21st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft has hit the ground running since returning from the Chiefs’ injured reserve list, making five tackles during Sunday’s 27-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“We’re tacklers,” said McDuffie. “That’s what we have to do. Coming in, I understood that we’re going to tackle as corners.”
Kansas City’s wunderkind began his football journey as a three-year letterman for California powerhouse St. John Bosco in Bellflower — just a brisk 23-minute drive to SoFi Stadium, where the Chiefs will play on Sunday Night Football.
“I have quite a few family members coming out,” McDuffie remarked. “So I’ll definitely have quite a lot of energy on Sunday.”
As a high school senior, McDuffie led Bosco to a 13-1 season and appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game, returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in the title game.
“Honestly,” said the cornerback, “up to now, I’ve always had a lot of family come to games — which has been super important to me and something I’ve been blessed with.
“So going into it, it’s exciting… but it’s just another game for me and that’s kind of how I approached this.”
McDuffie knows that on Sunday night, his main focus will have to be the Chargers — including their star quarterback Justin Herbert.
“He can throw the ball anywhere,” noted McDuffie. “So being able to limit his passing lanes [will be important]. Austin Eckler is also a great player who can do a lot of things. He’s really good out of the backfield, catching passes and in the run game.
“So I think limiting those two to as [few] yards as we can as a defense is going to help us out the most.”