Can you talk a little bit about the work Nick has put in to get to where he's at?
I would say that, the real work probably came right after the season last year, along with everyone else on our team. And he kind of lead the charge with the weight room and the speed training and plyometric stuff. Starting right in November, he took maybe two weeks off after the last game, and really took to it, really worked on his explosiveness and quickness, his pulls, his pass sets and things like that. Some things that we, with the double wing offense, don't do a whole lot of, but to do well in those camps and things he went to throughout the Winter. He worked really hard to get those skills down, He did it Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, religiously, even on holidays, he'd come here with the coaches and worked it out with my father on his pass set, footwork and hand placement and really put in the time. He's a guy that was driven and that's what really spurred his growth and he's excited to get to Michigan State.
Other than that work ethic, what else is Michigan State getting with Nick?
I think it's his mentality in the game. He really wants to be a finisher. He's a guy that has that nasty edge about him, plays to the whistle, and will do whatever is needed and what his coaches ask of him and more. I think he's extremely smart, very intelligent, and he gets better each week. He doesn't make the same mistakes twice. He's very coachable.
It seems like he's stepped up as a leader, so as a locker room kind of guy, as a teammate, what kind of kid is Nick?
I think that's something that didn't come easy to him. He was kind of in the shadow of his older brother, who was our quarterback a couple years ago, and his passion kind of grew as his brother was doing things and bringing him along and he never really was forced to be a leader. His brother was always that vocal leader. And there was never that kind of guy in his class, so we sat down and talked to Nick about leadership. He doesn't have to be a rah-rah guy or a guy who says a bunch, but needs to be a guy who goes out and does it and leads by action and he's embraced it and I think there have been some times where he was uncomfortable speaking in front of the team, but he did because he felt it was necessary for the success of our group.
You have another highly recruited guy in Jhonathon Williams, what does he bring to the table?
I think Jhon, his skills are still yet untapped. This is really his second year of full football. We brought him up as a sophomore on varsity to kind of get him in the culture of the group we had then, the leadership that we had, and he kind of embraced it and I think he found a place, where, unlike the basketball court, where all of those eyes are on you so tight, the football field, he could really let himself go and enjoy it and let that aggression out. He's such an explosive kid, I mean, he took 5th in shot, 7th in high jump, he's in our 1000-pound club. He's very strong. He doesn't shy away from hard work. But he's still learning the game, so his upside is going to be amazing in a year, two years, three years down the road.
Are there any other guys, maybe some young guys, who we should be aware of?
I definitely think that our junior center Matt Smith, I'm not sure if he'll be a D2 guy, but he's going to be a really good football player. He's extremely smart, strong, only a junior. Our free safety, Lonhi Sibande, another kid who has a chance to play at the next level. He has speed, explosiveness, he was a two-way player for us, was a starter as a sophomore, both those kids started as sophomores. Then there's Malik McIntyre, a sophomore running back who just came up from Georgia. He's still young, still learning, but shows flashes of brilliance and that speed you want to see out there. Moe Taylor, another running back, a young kid and an outstanding all-around back.