Can't Knock the Hustle: PJ Settles and Bryce Hayes Talk Sports, Music, and More

PJ Settles ’19 and Bryce Hayes ’20 were already well known on the Rhodes College campus for their impressive skills on the football field. Recently, though, the two have gained recognition for something completely different: their weekly podcast, Can’t Knock the Hustle, which is quickly rising in popularity on campus.

Settles and Hayes officially began the podcast in the summer of 2017, at the suggestion of Coach Ronald Booker, the wide receiver coach, and head softball coach Luke Wagner. Booker and Wagner felt a podcast focused on sports, music, and pop culture would be a great platform for initiating broader campus discussions. “Bryce texted me about the idea, and I thought it was a great idea because the conversations we have now on the podcast are the sorts of things we talk about in our everyday life,” says Settles.

Both Hayes, an intended history major, and Settles, a history major and Africana studies minor, recall the beginning stages of the podcast as a rather easy and interesting process. “It really wasn’t too hard. Coach Booker had done something similar in the past, so he already had a mic that we could use,” explains Hayes. “Next, we started brainstorming a couple of topics we wanted to talk about and jumped right into it.”

The podcast brings on a variety of guests, including coaches, professors, and friends of Hayes and Settles. “It’s interesting to pick different peoples’ brains on different topics, and argue about something that you’re passionate about,” says Settles.

Both agree that their podcast has helped them to create connections and earn recognition in Memphis. “Since we’ve started this podcast, I’ve met and received more support from local media people than I ever thought I would. I’ve met Alexis Morgan, who works with the Grizzlies and Devin Walker who works for the local branch of ESPN and they have been some of my biggest supporters outside of campus throughout this process. Now when I go to the Grizzlies games, I’m sitting up front talking to them as friends instead of a fan,” Hayes says. 

Even though the two came to Rhodes to play football, they have since found a link between the purpose of their podcast and what initially drew them to Rhodes. Settles, who hails from Nashville, says, “The connection to sports and the connection to music, along with the big-city feel, all attracted me to Memphis and to Rhodes. I feel like a lot of the topics that we cover on the podcast tie into this.”

For Hayes, the podcast has allowed him the opportunity to shine a light on his own hometown: “I’m from Memphis, so coming to Rhodes was big for me. Once I actually made my decision, I felt like I was representing my city. This podcast is just another step in doing that.”

By Ellie Johnson ’20.

Can’t Knock the Hustle is available on iTunes and on Soundcloud.