Work hard and don’t be satisfied with just getting through things.
Ohio State University
Defensive Back and Special Teams Specialist
2011: Captain vs Toledo, 1 sack
2010: 13 Total tackles, 7 solo, 6 assists
2009: 7 Total tackles, 5 solo, 2 assists. Big Ten All-Academic, Top Ten Tenacious five times
Nate didn’t play football in high school because of his dedication to the Rugby team; the US National U19 and U20 Rugby team. When Nate was 17 years old he was the youngest player ever to compete in the National 7’s. He was a captain and the MVP of the 2007 and 2008 World Cup. Nate was already attending Ohio State University when he became too old for the team. He decided to finish earning his degree and walk-on to the football team. Playing football was something he wanted to try in high school. He decided now was the time to pursue that desire.
WillofaChampion: Why did you walk-on to play football?
Nate: I attended Hilliard Davidson High School and we won the Ohio high school division one state championship my senior year. That was bittersweet because I didn’t play since I was in rugby. Once I was too old for the rugby national team, I decided to play for OSU.
WillofaChampion: What has been one of your greatest challenges as a walk-on?
Nate: Learning the game. Playing the game like I can play rugby; being able to play fast without making a mistake. Truly gaining respect from others. You have to earn that over time.
WillofaChampion: Did you have to put in extra time running, lifting, or working out?
Nate: That is hard to answer because I have been a work-out fiend since I was young. I earned a lot of respect because of the way I work-out. I worked out with guys using 300 lbs a lot.
WillofaChampion: Do you have to be more mentally tough as a walk-on?
Nate: You have to be thicker skinned. You probably have to be able to brush things off a little more.
WillofaChampion: How did your teammates receive you?
Nate: These guys were already working out together. So it takes time to earn their respect. Some guys get recruited together so they know each other right from the start. You don’t just show up and people automatically respect you, you have to earn it.
WillofaChampion: Why do you think you’ve made it when other walk-ons do not?
Nate: I don’t know. Maybe confidence gained in rugby; hard work and toughness have been a key factor. I am also lucky that I have the ability to do special teams and the coaches saw that.
WillofaChampion: When you’ve gone through challenging times, who has been there to encourage you?
Nate: I think of my dad.
WillofaChampion: What impact has following your dream and earning it had on the rest of your life?
Nate: I am very thankful to play football for OSU. I wouldn’t say this was my life’s dream. Not like it is for others. But I am very glad I’ve done it. Having stuck with it when things got tough has given me more confidence.
WillofaChampion: What advice do you have for other athletes considering walking-on?
Nate: Work hard and don’t be satisfied with just getting through things. Don’t get discouraged when things are tough or don’t go your way. Just work as hard as you can.
Nate is majoring in Exercise Science
Interview: September 2011