In February last year, Clarence Dennis was like most seniors at KU, focusing on finishing his last semester strong, preparing for graduation, and trying to get a job. What a difference a year makes.
This February, Dennis was part of media team covering the Super Bowl for the Los Angeles Rams and experiencing “a sports media nerd’s dream.”
Before Dennis graduated from the J-School last May, he had been diligent about looking for jobs, checking career sites daily, submitting “tons of applications,” and taking advantage of the Career and Outreach Center. After graduation, he was still searching.
“In June, I just saw the random posting for this Rams job, and it required five writing samples and I was like, perfect, I have exactly five,” Dennis said. In school, he had worked as a communication intern for KU Athletics, so on a whim he decided to apply. When he got a call for an interview, he was thrilled but a little unsure.
“Sports writing wasn’t even really on my radar, so I remember feeling extremely excited but also nervous, like oh my gosh, am I actually prepared to do this?” Dennis said.
The Rams were convinced that he was, and the Roeland Park, Kansas, native moved to California and started work last July as seasonal staff writer, the assistant to the team insider providing beat coverage of the team.
His first assignments consisted of writing about training camp, and once the regular season started he attended all home games, writing about 15 items per week for the Ram website. The team kept winning and at 8-0, Dennis’ friends remarked that a Super Bowl spot was a very real possibility for the team.
Dennis, a lifelong Chiefs fan, also was keeping his eye on their road through the playoffs.
“I was writing the article that was saying whether or not the Rams were going to face the Patriots or the Chiefs in real time while watching the Chiefs with all of my heart poured into the Chiefs,” Dennis said.
Although he was disappointed the Chiefs came up short, when the Rams earned their spot to play for the NFL championship, Dennis’ life became even more surreal as the two-week hype fest before the big game began. Scores of cameras and famous media personalities he has seen covering sports his entire life descended on the Rams.
“It was very much a whirlwind because there is such a giant influx of media,” Dennis said.
A week before the Super Bowl, Dennis traveled with the team to Atlanta, where he and a dozen others on the Rams media team got to work. He was extremely busy attending press conferences and practices every day and writing. He was excited to write a feature about former KU player Aqib Talib.
Even though the Rams lost, the game itself was less than exciting, and “the halftime show is definitely made for TV as opposed to being in the stadium,” Dennis said it was “definitely an awesome experience. As a general sports fan, it was cool to see that big stage.”
Back in L.A., Dennis is preparing for the NFL combine, and as a “seasonal” writer will learn soon whether he’ll be kept on.
“I’ve certainly made some good connections and had some awesome experiences,” Dennis said. “so we’ll see where it goes.”