A year and a half had passed since Isaac Rochell last roamed the hallways at the University of Notre Dame. The defensive end returned to his alma mater to film an episode of “Backstage: Chargers,” a behind-the-scenes TV series of the team.
Rochell snapped a few photos of his visit last month before putting the lens cap back on his Canon camera.
“I didn’t overdo it,” said Rochell, a keen photographer. “I had such a limited amount of time, I kind of just wanted to engage and be present. The Chargers brought me out there and I wanted to give them my absolute undivided attention.”
Rochell gave his commitment to the Chargers on and off the field after they took a chance on him in the seventh round (the 225th pick) of the 2017 NFL draft.
Rochell, 23, repaid the Chargers by working his way up from the practice squad during his rookie season to becoming a vital rotational player on the defensive line. In 2018, his second season, Rochell recorded 29 combined tackles, five sacks, seven QB hits, and filled in admirably while star defensive end Joey Bosa was sidelined for nine games with a foot injury.
For Year 3, Rochell is aiming to help the Chargers in other ways besides football. Rochell, who was an exclusive-rights free agent, signed a one-year, $645,000 tendered deal earlier this month to remain with the Chargers.
“I’m excited and I couldn’t be anymore pleased with the way (coach) Anthony Lynn, (general manager) Tom Telesco, (defensive coordinator) Gus Bradley and (defensive line coach) Giff Smith have helped me with my development,” Rochell said. “I’m super fortunate to be a part of this organization. I have unreal teammates and I really can’t say enough good things about my experience in the NFL and with the Chargers.”
The Chargers get back more than a productive defensive end. They retain a player looking to help his teammates mentally. And it doesn’t stop in the locker room – the inventive 6-foot-4 Rochell is hoping to make a difference for anyone with a social media account.
For many, the day starts and ends with their eyes glued to the phone screen as their thumb scrolls through a social media app. Social media has become a common and useful tool, but it can also be counterproductive. Rochell found himself starting most days perusing his social media feeds, causing a delay on the day’s tasks.
“I’m one of those people,” Rochell admitted. “I feel like we all are.”
Rochell nearly deleted his social media accounts before realizing the benefits that come with being an active user.
“I think social media is an unreal platform,” Rochell said. “Now everybody has an opportunity to brand themselves. Everybody has an opportunity to have influence, but with that comes byproducts, which are overindulging use.”
Before the 2018 season, Rochell committed to taking Saturdays off from using social media. It allowed his mind to refresh the day before Sunday’s game, while also furthering his passion for photography.
With the extra time, Rochell spent his Saturdays with family, friends, teammates, and took many pictures of their outdoor activities across Southern California. Rochell dedicated an Instagram profile to his photography, which can be found @isaacrochellphoto.
Many have taken notice of Rochell’s street photography. He was invited by junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker to take pictures of his media workout last month. Last year, Rochell shadowed a Los Angeles Galaxy team photographer to shoot a soccer match at StubHub Center, now known as Dignity Health Sports Park.