You played football at Cornell University before making the leap to acting, but then landed the role as quarterback BoJohn Folsom on The Quad—how perfect!
I think everyone kind of has their own journey, but, yeah, mine was certainly unique. Acting is such a nontraditional job, though. I was talking about it with one of my cast mates who also played college football, and we were like, ultimately, the more real-life experience you have, the more you can bring to a role.
What was the audition process like for the show?
I had seven auditions for The Quad. Holy s**t. [laughs] But if you audition for something seven times—over, I don’t know, a two-month period—and you get it, you know you earned it. ... It allows you to go in on day one with a great confidence. Confidence in yourself, and also confidence that your producers and your directors and your network believe in you.
What can we look forward to this season [which premiered Jan. 23]?
We dive into more social and racial issues. We definitely keep that trend; that’s sort of become the heartbeat of our show. ... Season one was really introducing all these characters, so a lot of times, you saw an explosive scene to show their backstory, and then in season two, you see the effects of all that in their personalities, in their feelings, in how they move forward. My character is a victim of domestic violence—he has a really harsh relationship with his dad... and in season two, at least for me, you’ll see how that affects me in every other relationship in my life.
We know you live in Los Angeles now, but you grew up in the South. How have you liked filming in Atlanta?
I like it a lot. If I could, I would probably swap with spending seven months in L.A. and five months in Atlanta. I’m from Dallas, so all the barbecue, football, hiking... it’s awesome. I love The Optimist—that’s right down the street from me—and West Egg is definitely my favorite breakfast restaurant. @jakeallyn85