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Carl Nassib: From Walk-On To NFL Prospect

Carl Nassib is becoming a Penn State legend. After being recently named to another midseason watch list, this time for the Ted Hendricks Award (given to the nation’s top defensive end), the current FBS sack leader has been kicking ass and taking names all year. The midseason All-American has also started to get the attention of NFL teams. And why not? The 6’6, 270 lb. athletic freak has all the physical attributes teams look for in an NFL prospect. With long arms and an incredible work ethic, Nassib is making every game he plays for Penn State count, and his teammates take notice.

“You talk about a guy like Carl Nassib,” starting tackle Andrew Nelson said. “I think that guy is in the weight room more than anybody I’ve ever met, especially on this team, the last couple years. That’s definitely something that’s kind of a driving force of our team is just doing extra.”

“The first time I went against Carl was obviously my freshman year,” Nelson continued. “The year previously he had redshirted so he was on scout team and stuff like that, and no one really had much to say about Carl at that point. I remember thinking, this guy is pretty hard to block and no one is really talking about him or anything but he’s a pretty good player, and you just saw that development continue each year. A lot comes from Carl’s mentality. Carl literally does everything he can to be the best, and that’s paid off for him, and you can see that transformation year to year, to the point now where you’re in practice and you’re going up against Carl, you’re going, ‘Oh, no, I have to block Carl now. He’s a great player, and it’s a credit to his mentality.”

With 13.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for a loss, and five forced fumbles, he has made national headlines as a break-out defensive player this year. The former walk-on is on pace to having a record-breaking year, and his sack total is the highest at Penn State since Michael Haynes tied Larry Kubin’s school record of 15 sacks in 2002. With premier defensive ends being a luxury for NFL teams, if Nassib continues to play as brilliantly as he has been there is no reason he can’t sneak into the upcoming draft.

A good comparison to Nassib would be Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah. Ogbah is 6’4, 270 lb., and had a similar season to Nassib last year. Recording 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, he grabbed countrywide attention, and now CBS Sports predicts him going in the first round. If Ogbah can slide into the first round with that year, imagine how high up Nassib can climb with his stats at the halfway point of this college football season.

Watch the similarities in the two plays below.

Both players are extremely fast right off the snap. They explode off the line and beat the right tackle who seems surprised by their speed. Nassib and Ogbah both annihilate the opposing quarterback. Both are textbook sacks and these two defensive ends are exactly the type of player NFL teams are looking for. Although the first round would still be very high for Nassib, look for him to maintain his incredible success so far and look out for his name to be called during the later rounds in April.

Nassib and the Nittany Lions take on the Fighting Illini this Saturday at noon. Penn State is coming off a strong win in a very stressful, back-and-forth game against Maryland. Playing in front of a packed Beaver Stadium on Halloween, Penn State looks to increase its record to 7-2 and increase its odds of going to a better bowl game than last year.

About the Author

Ben Rappaport

is a junior English and Journalism major at Penn State. He loves spending way too much money on concerts and music festivals. Ben can usually be found walking around campus listening to Kanye West. A fun fact about him is he once was resuscitated from unconsciousness by Pusha T's verse on the song "Mercy." Feel free to contact him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter at @Benrappp.

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