To say it has been quite a year for Nick Mangold might be an understatement.
After all, great things keep on happening for Nick. First, back in the summer, Nick received a scholarship offer from his dream school -- Ohio State -- and accepted. After that, Nick and Kettering Alter had a great season and a deep playoff run. And it continues for Nick this Saturday (1/5) as he will be playing with the best of the best in the US Army All-American Bowl on ESPN2 at 1 pm.
More on Nick Mangold:
Height : 6-4
How did Nick get to this point? Let's start back in the summertime with that OSU camp.
Nick came into the camp and did not yet have an offer from OSU, but he performed well enough to get that offer from the coaches. "I think that my initial feeling was euphoria," Nick said. "I was surprised. I did not think that they would actually offer any player while were still at the camp. I felt like I had a great camp, but there were a lot of other players who I thought were even better."
The coaches did something a little unique with Nick -- they offered him at the same time as fellow offensive linemen (and future Buckeyes) Rob Sims and T.J. Downing. "I was impressed that Sims and Downing were offered at the same time by Coach Tressel," Nick said. "I think that it meant a lot to the three of us that we were offered as a group."
The choice wasn't a difficult one for Nick. "It fulfills a life long dream," he said. "I have wanted to play for the Buckeyes since I was 9 years old."
The Buckeyes were not Nick's only option, although he only really considered one other school. "The only serious consideration that I had before committing to the Buckeyes was Notre Dame," Nick said. "I am Catholic and it was a great honor to be offered a full ride by them." Others pursued Nick as well. "Clemson also offered a full ride in writing," he said. "Only three schools offered a full ride in writing, but a number of schools said 'Well, if it doesn't work out with OSU, give us a call.' But I think most schools knew where I wanted to go."
Not every school is giving up easy. "Notre Dame's recent head coach O'Leary sent me a letter to try to have me reconsider," Nick said. "A lot of middle range D1 and D1AA schools stay in contact, but I think they know my answer."
In addition to his lifelong desire to be a Buckeye, Nick is very high on the OSU coaches. "The coaching staff is first class, starting with Coach Tressel," Nick said. "Coach Conely, Heacock and Bollman are great. I really like Coach Bollman's sense of humor. I don't know Coach Spencer too well since he coaches the backs, but he seems pretty funny too. I know that they will be disciplined in their approach to football, and that is the style that I've known and have come to like."
Nick became set on OSU in the summertime, and then it became time to start the season. Alter had a fine regular season at 7-3, and then they entered the playoffs and made a run to the state semifinals, only to lose in a tough, close loss to Columbus DeSales. Nick put up some impressive numbers this year as on offense, he graded out at 89%, allowed zero sacks and only one tackle for loss (which didn't come until the final game) and had 52 pancake blocks, while on defense, Nick had 101 tackles, 20 TFL, 6 sacks, 10 batted passes, 29 hurries, 5 fumbles forced, and 3 fumbles recovered. Also, Nick racked up a very impressive stat on special teams, where he blocked 7 kicks! "I had a good senior season," Nick said. "I think that I achieved almost all of my goals. I certainly wish that it had ended differently, but it was not meant to be."
Nick lists his strengths as having "quick feet, good balance, and excellent leg strength," and he says that there are also things that he'd like to work on. "I need to work on different pass blocking schemes and snapping the ball in the shotgun. Alter is primarily a running team; although our line was excellent in pass blocking, I still could learn different techniques. I have never snapped the ball in the 'gun, but I did long snap twice this year without messing up."
Nick also has great size, speed and strength. "I am 6'4'', 267 lbs and I have just started lifting again," Nick said. I have not been tested in the 40 yd. dash since last summer. At Clemson and Notre Dame, I ran a 4.9; I ran a 5.0 at Ohio State, but it was considered a "forth quarter" forty. The last time that I was tested on bench press I did 360 lbs, but that was last May. At Ohio State, I did 18 reps with 225 lbs in June."
Needless to say, Nick followed the Buckeyes this year. "I think they are much better than their record indicates," Nick said. "I have to say that if Coach Tressel had been with them for a longer time that they would have shown everybody how good they are." It won't be long before Nick is in a Buckeye uniform, and he is anxious to get some Ws. "I want to do whatever I can to help the Buckeyes win," Nick said.
Being part of a fine recruiting class will help in the W department. Nick hasn't gotten to see most of his future teammates play yet (he did get a chance to see Justin Zwick play on tape... of the tape, Nick said "Awesome!"), but he does say that these players are great people. "I must say that they seem to be a great bunch of guys and even better football players," Nick said. "I think I have hit it off well with them so far with the different functions that I have attended with them." As for Nick's personal goals in college, he says "I want to get my degree in architecture and pursue my professional career. I will continue to play football at whatever level that my talent and ambition will let me."
Nick will be taking to the field tomorrow afternoon to play with and against the best high school talent in America. Buckeye fans should know that even though Nick has not yet put on his OSU uniform, he will be a great representative for OSU. "I think that everyone should know how much that I believe that it is a privilege and an honor to be asked to play for the Buckeyes," Nick said. "I will never forget that."
Fans, it sounds like the Buckeyes have a winner in Nick Mangold!
Special thanks to Nick and the Mangold family for the great interview.