Earning His Spurs: Nick Prochak
"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place."
Nick Prochak was a quarterback and a defensive back in high school. He'd already stated after his New Year's Eve commitment in 2005, that he'd play linebacker if need be. Naturally, he's now a tight end. All sarcasm aside, it makes sense looking back. He was recruited as an athlete, meaning he could adjust on the fly. After eleven spring practices, it's safe to say he has.
With Andy Boyd out for the spring recovering from shoulder surgery, Robert Pavlovic out with a hamstring pull, and Jared Cook being moved to wide receiver, Prochak had his chance. He jumped on it. This season, with two seniors expected to be healthy, might be spent learning and gaining some much needed weight, but that's called depth – something new to the average Gamecock fan.
At 6'4", 211 pounds, is he undersized for the position? Maybe, but the coaching staff has noticed him. To Steve Spurrier, that's what matters, "Prochak did some good things here and there. He's still not really sure of what he does every play, but can catch the ball. He's got a chance to be a pretty good tight end and he wants to play. We've still got a few guys here at South Carolina that don't really like football, I don't think."
Obviously Coach Spurrier is convinced Nick Prochak, the former Shrine Bowler and South Carolina Mr. Football finalist, is not one of those who don't like the game. Only two weeks ago, Coach Spurrier raved about the new tight end he says the coaching staff "stumbled upon."
"Nick Prochak is going to be an excellent tight end for us," he said. "I'm going to predict that right now. He's a natural. He can catch the ball. He knows how to get open.
The best thing about the under-sized man of a thousand masks is his attitude. With sports transforming into a multi-billion dollar industry over the years and media coverage 24/7, cliché's have become the norm. No one wants to make the headlines anymore in a negative light. How many athletes have stared blankly into our eyes before robotically answering, "I just want to help the team win."
Though Prochak gives cliché ridden and P.C. driven answers, it's different when you speak to him. It's genuine. He truly comes across as a young man who is thankful to be here.
Only a couple weeks ago, the team player finished off his comments humbled, "I was fortunate to have a couple come my way."
At Williams Brice Stadium on Friday, he said the same thing, "I was fortunate enough to have a couple balls thrown my way. (I'm) trying to go out there and take it day by day."
Cliché? P.C? Normally, yes, but not here. Prochak truly has the flair of a boy blessed with athleticism and willing to take on any challenge.
It was only a year ago that Prochak fell victim to shoulder problems forcing surgery. A strong defensive back field and two highly recruited quarterback commitments in Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia, Prochak knew it was time to call upon the "athlete" within.
Enter the next season with new opportunity and the hard working quarterback turned d-back turned tight end wasn't about to quit.
"I'm just trying to get better every day."
According to the Ol' Ball Coach, he is.
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