SJSU emerges as leader for SoCal LB

This Southern California linebacker made his second trek to San Jose State during the recent spring practice session. While the Spartans have always been on the list of favorites, they now sit solidly at the top. Inside Sparta finds out if the SJSU staff is returning the interest.

Ever since he was two years old, Nick Grodotzke of Chaminade College Prep High School in West Hills, Calif., wanted to play football. He recalls throwing a toy ball and attending local high school games in his hometown of Agoura Hills. However, because of his size he wasn't allowed to play organized youth football. Instead, he followed in his father's footsteps into soccer, as well as basketball and baseball. "I was usually too big for my age group and my parents didn't want me playing with kids two to three years older than me," he told Inside Sparta.

Patience comes to he who waits, or in this case he who finally gets to high school. Grodotzke took to the sport immediately, and he was good. "My freshman year was when I became very passionate about it," he said. "I won the Team Defensive MVP award, and I was moved up to the J.V. team."

His dream of playing finally a reality, he said he played both ways on Thursday nights with the freshman team, then suited up to play with the J.V squad on Friday. "I always knew I was going to play football in high school," he said. "I didn't think I would be good enough for scholarship consideration later."

The dream could continue at San Jose State. Grodotzke and his mom, Marilyn, recently took in a session of the recent spring practice at SJSU. "I came up on an unofficial visit and hung out around the San Jose area on Saturday and walked around the campus and I loved it," he said. "Then on Sunday we went to the football facilities. I got another tour to show my mom around the place. I met with all the coaches and even some of the players. Everybody was open and welcoming and I felt like this would be a great place to go to school and play football."

It wasn't the first time Grodotzke had been to the SJSU campus. He said he and his father had been up for a visit in August.

The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Grodotzke said he spoke with head coach Dick Tomey and running backs coach Charles Nash during the visit, and was updated on the possibility of a scholarship offer. "They told me things would become clearer pretty soon, after spring practice," he said. "The position Coach Nash told me I was most likely to play at San Jose was linebacker."

The August visit jumped San Jose State into the top group of schools for Grodotzke. A list that included Oregon, Sacramento State, Portland State, and Washington. Oregon was his top school early on, after a visit during his Spring Break of 2008, but he said the list has changed many times. "Many of those schools are out of the mix," he said. "My top schools right now that I am looking at are San Jose State, Sacramento State, and Fresno State."

He said he also visited Sacramento State, but no offer was forthcoming from the Hornets. "They would consider me for a preferred walk-on," he said. "As of right now, San Jose is giving me the best feedback. These are really the only two schools I have been in contact with in the past month."

Among the honors Grodotzke reports receiving are:

  • 1st Team All-Mission League selection at linebacker for the 2008 season.
  • Nominated for the USA Junior National Team this year. The games are to be played in late June and early July in Canton, Ohio.
  • Selected for the LA Daily News East-West All Star Game on June 7th at Birmingham High School

Grodotzke reports a time of 4.69 in the 40-yard-dash along with a vertical leap of 30.1-inches.

Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at

Better yet, join the rest of the Inside Sparta community in discussions of this article, and more, on the Inside Sparta Discussion Forums!

Inside TheSpartans Top Stories