Bill O’Brien: “Carl Nassib Proved Me Wrong”

The story has been beaten into the ground all over the internet in the last few weeks — Carl Nassib, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and college football’s leader in sacks and forced fumbles (and second place in tackles for loss) not only dominated, but had more odds stacked against him than anyone in order to get there. Nassib never started a football game in high school, and had no offers to play college ball. He came to Penn State, walked onto the team, and worked his way into a scholarship position and national prominence. Bill O’Brien, Nassib’s first coach at Penn State and current Houston Texans head coach, spoke out on his incredible growth.

“Are you kidding me? You’re going to play pro football?” O’Brien said. “He proved me wrong. He worked his butt off in the weight room, got strong and got better and got bigger.”

Nassib himself reflected on his journey after being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, saying, “You can’t control talent, and you can’t control size, but you can control how hard you work.”

Flash forward a few years and it looks like a certainty that Nassib will get himself drafted. He missed out on Heisman contention and was erroneously snubbed of a USA Today First Team All-American selection, as well as the Burlsworth and Nagurski trophies, but he’s still being considered to win a few others — and the fact that that’s the case for a former walk-on is ludicrous.

But O’Brien said it best. “[He’s] a great student, a really smart kid. Happy that he proved me wrong. Just a remarkable story.”

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Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.


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