Carbondale has long been a place where Keenan Agnew was comfortable.
His older brothers, Ray and Malcolm, both played for the Salukis.
The sophomore defensive tackle from Chesterfield, Mo., also has been sporting his Rams colors for a long time, despite the team leaving St. Louis for Los Angeles.
That’s because Agnew’s father, Ray Jr., is the Rams’ director of pro scouting. Agnew’s dad enjoyed an 11-year NFL career with three teams after being selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1990 draft.
In our weekly Moving the Chains feature, Agnew shares the best advice he got from his dad, along with the food he misses most from St. Louis and the teammate that makes him laugh every day.
What’s the best thing about your dad’s job?
It’s getting to be around players. I’ve gotten a chance to meet almost everybody. I’ve sat down and had a conversation with (two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year) Aaron Donald. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. All the players call (my dad) ‘The OG.’ They call me ‘OG Junior’ because I look just like him. I got to go to the Super Bowl last year, which was probably the best day of my entire life, even though the Rams lost.
Can you wear Rams gear in St. Louis or are fans too upset about them leaving town?
They’re still upset about it. Whenever I go to St. Louis, I can’t wear any of it. I wear it in Carbondale.
What’s the one food you miss from St. Louis?
Probably Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. That’s pretty good. A lot of people like Imo’s Pizza. I don’t know if I miss it, but it’s a cool spot that everybody likes. There’s a lot of other good places too. I could go on and on. I miss the food there, for sure.
Who are the most inspirational people in your life?
Definitely my mom and dad. Their backgrounds growing up were a lot different than mine. They’ve been together since they were in high school. Those two, I’ve looked up to them my whole life. They set a great example and raised me and my brothers really well. Them always being there, that has inspired me the most.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The Student Center. There are a lot of good food spots in there, and there are a lot of things you can do there.
If you weren’t playing college football, what other sport would you play?
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be playing sports. Maybe shot put and discus, but I don’t know if I was good enough to do that in college.
Other than SIU, who has the best-looking uniforms in the Missouri Valley Football Conference?
Probably Indiana State because blue is my favorite color. Those are the best to me.
Who’s the funniest guy on the SIU team?
That’s a hard one because there are a lot of funny guys. (Linebacker) Bryce Notree is up there. He’s all over the place. He has energy all the time and is always cracking jokes. I have a locker right by him, so I’m laughing all the time.
What’s the best football advice your dad ever gave you?
To have a next-play mentality. There’s always going to be a play where you mess up. He always tells me, ‘Don’t even worry about that play.’ That’s the mentality he always taught me.
Your two older brothers, Ray and Malcolm, played at SIU. What’s it like to continue that family tradition?
It’s pretty cool. I had other options coming out of high school, but SIU was just the best fit for me. It’s somewhere I was familiar with because I’d been to a bunch of the games. I felt like it was home.