It's no surprise that one of Nick's idols is former NFL star Dick Butkus. Butkus was known for his very physical play and his quick and to the point attitude. Nick is also blunt and to the point. He doesn't see a need for mincing his words and adding any flair. His talking is going to be done on the field.
I told Nick he has been labeled a nasty and mean player. "I would have to agree with them but I keep that on the field. I love to hit people. You cannot play linebacker without being aggressive so I try to be as aggressive as I can be. I try to hit people as hard as I possibly can. That is my job as a linebacker. When you hit someone that hard, it feels awesome. You don't even feel it but you can bet they feel it. I had one just like that last weekend. I shot the gap and just killed the guy. He was just waiting for me. It's such a great feeling. It's not personal, it's my job. I don't want to sound cocky but I want them to fear me. That is what a linebacker does."
Nick chose to take his hits to Notre Dame. I asked Nick why he chose Notre Dame. "You are not going to believe this but I never followed Notre Dame a day in my life until they called me. I followed Boston College and Penn State. Growing up in Boston, Boston College is right down the road, you just followed them. Those were the two schools that I cheered for. Once Notre Dame called me, I started to get interested in them. I did some research and it opened my eyes to Notre Dame. I told my Dad, 'Let's go down there and take a look.' Then I met Coach Willingham. What can you say about Coach Willingham? He is just such a great guy and you want to play for him. He is so impressive and you get excited being around him. Coach Simmons also impressed me. I just wanted to play for both of them. I liked Penn State because of 'Linebacker U' but once I went to Notre Dame, I knew that is where I wanted to be."
I asked Nick about Boston College and why they never offered him. "I am not really sure on that. I went to their camp. I got up at 6 AM and arrived at 8 AM. Nobody was there at all and I finally found someone and he told me that I needed to come back at 11 AM. So I got into my truck and drove home and then came back at 11 AM. I was dead tired by that time but I did the drills and I thought I did pretty well for myself. They just didn't offer. Some people say that Boston College was holding off on the local guys so other colleges would back off, the 'his home school hasn't even offered him' type of thing. I don't know if that was the reason and it doesn't matter to me at all. I moved on and I am focused on my season."
Nick is focusing on his season and one reason why he committed early. "I am definitely relieved that recruiting is over. I can now focus on my senior season and my team. We won our first game last week. I only played a quarter. We were up 27-0 after the first quarter. I had 4-5 tackles but I got pulled pretty early. I haven't set my official visit to Notre Dame yet because we could play quite late into the season. Our team is ranked #20 in the USA Today's top 25. I am just focused on winning the state championship and getting that ring."
Nick said he consistently runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. "I want to get it down to 4.6 consistently. I know I can run 4.7 every day but I want to get it down to the 4.6 range. I have good quickness but I would like to improve on that.
Happiness sometimes comes in different packages than you originally thought. "I am very happy with my decision. I can't wait to get there. My parents are also happy with my decision. I think they are proud that I made this decision on my own. They know that I would will get the best balance between academics and athletics and I think they are very happy I made this decision. I would have never imagined 4 years ago that I would be playing college football for Notre Dame. Who would have thought that my decision would come down to Notre Dame and Virginia?"
A side note. When I called Nick, he was on the phone with current commitment Joe Brockington. He and Joe are becoming fast friends. "Joe just called me and we were talking about the Michigan game, Notre Dame and how excited we were to be going to Notre Dame. He is a great guy and I think we will get along great." Let's hope they aquainted better in the opposing teams' backfield very soon.