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At 4 feet 8, 91 pounds, developmentally disabled, Ricky Rosas, 18, doesn’t have a driver’s license, doesn’t have any money and he can’t sign his name. But he has a title: Special Assistant to the Head Coach. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Rosas makes a joke with USC tailback Stafon Johnson at the team’s practice. “You look over at Ricky during practice, he puts a smile on your face,” Johnson says. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Rosas stays on task lining up cups and keeping the Trojans hydrated at practice. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Every morning, he leaves his East Los Angeles home to catch bus No. 720, then transfers to bus No. 754, then jumps out near the Vermont Street entrance to USC. The trips takes 90 minutes (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Rosas was stunted by childhood bone cancer and stuck with a learning disability that turned school into torture.

After a recent practice, Coach Pete Carroll summoned Ricky to the middle of the players’ huddle to inform him he was going to join the team on the road in Oregon.

Ricky says he quietly cried when he heard the news. He had never flown in a plane. He had never stayed in a hotel room. “I was in shock,” he says. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
“If something has to be done quick, it’s like, ‘OK, get Ricky,’ ” says Jared Blank, the Trojans’ director of player personnel. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)
Rosas serves up a drink to USC’s Dale Thompson during practice Tuesday as the Trojans prepared for Arizona State. (Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times)