There's been a lot of hype surrounding Rams rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
You've probably seen the headlines. Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager said Kupp will be the most productive first-year wideout in football. The Rams' recent projections included him as the club's third starting wide receiver.
So how does the 24-year-old Kupp process all this as he begins his first training camp?
"There has been some media about stuff like that, but at the end of the day I'm here for the team. I'm here to be the best that I can be," Kupp said on Wednesday. "All that stuff, speculations — I still haven't done anything yet. I just want to come in here and get better every single day and be a part of winning games as a Ram."
Kupp and the Rams rookies arrived over the course of the afternoon, checking into their rooms at UC Irvine that will be serve as their home for the next few weeks. Kupp, who will be sharing his dorm suite with fullback Sam Rogers, said he's looking forward to the next few weeks.
It's been an unlikely journey for the Eastern Washington product, who finished his high school career without a college scholarship offer. He said at one point coaches from Yale were recruiting him decently hard. But then he received a call to let him know the Ivy League school was going in another direction.
"Yeah, it was tough. There is no feeling like that," Kupp said. "I believed I could play at the next level but there's that voice in the back of your head saying 'Well, right now no one else thinks that you can.'
"But that didn't change my idea," Kupp continues. "My thoughts were 'I can do this, I know I can play at the next level.' And I was lucky enough to be able to connect to some really good coaches and really great players in college."
And as is well known by now, Kupp set numerous FCS records at Eastern Washington en route to being selected in the third round this year.
Kupp said he's not spent much time reflecting on that journey, as he's still at the beginning of his professional career and looking toward the future.
"I'm going to let that be what it is. I'm all about the mentality that whatever you've done before you know forget about it, flush it, move forward whether it's good or bad," Kupp said. "You've got to go out and learn things every single day and the things that have happened before you can't allow those things to define, define you and change you as a person. So, I'm going to stay the same me whether it's good or bad, continue being the person who strives to be the best in everything that he does."
To that end, Kupp said he spent time during the summer break working out with starting quarterback Jared Goff.
"He lives about 15 minutes from me, so I got a chance to work out with him a little bit, throw [with] all the guys," Kupp said. "We had a good group of guys that were able to come out and throw and go through some stuff together and just continue to get that work and build that chemistry."
It's also about skill refinement, which is a point of pride for the young receiver. He received a number of compliments from coaches and players during the offseason program for how polished he was for a rookie.
That's all by design, as the wideout is a noted student of the game. He said he studied different types of offenses during the pre-draft process. And he listed Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio aBrown, and A.J. Green as players he's watched to try and model his game after.
"I would like people to say that when they describe the kind of player that I am, is someone that prepares like a pro," Kupp said. "I'm not sure where where this came from, where the end result came from. But if people are describing me as a player, that is where I want to land — is someone that is putting everything they can do into this game and controlling what I can control, which is my attitude and my effort. That is always going to be on par with who I am as a player and it is going to be very important for me to carry that through day-by-day and all the way through my career."
That attitude comes through in the way Kupp describes what propels him. Even though his path to the NFL was not traditional, Kupp says those who doubted his potential didn't fuel him.
"I was motivated because of the person that I am, because of who God created me to be, and the doubts were there just because that's how things go sometimes, you know? But the doubt in my mind — which is the most important thing — was never there," Kupp said. "I believed I could play this game, you know let other people think what they can, I just control what I can control."
And that is the approach Kupp has brought into his first training camp. He doesn't appear to be putting much pressure on himself, instead opting to do what he can to make the biggest impact.
"Like I've said, my expectation is to come in here and help win games," Kupp said. "That's the most important part — most important statistic is just to be a part of winning game in whatever that role is going to be. I'm going to embrace it. i'm going to attack it. And outside of that, I am going to let everyone else do speculations, all of the different hypotheticals — I'm just going to control what I can control and strive to be a part of something special here."