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Despite Overwhelming Success, Carl Nassib Remains The Same

Carl Nassib is in a rare position. After an extraordinary season in which he led the nation in both sacks and forced fumbles, Nassib was the recipient of just about every national defensive accolade imaginable. But he hasn’t always been the center of attention. Just one year ago, Nassib’s name rarely came up in conversation. Look even further back, and you’d find Nassib simply going out each day, trying to make a name for himself in practice. Most walk-ons keep their priorities in perspective, as they give their all each day in practice vying for the chance to make an impact. But that’s what separates Nassib from your ordinary walk-on.

“I didn’t want to tell anybody, actually I never told anybody because I knew that they would laugh at me and give me weird looks, but it was always my goal to become an All-American,” Nassib said during TaxSlayer Bowl Media Day. “I’m just incredibly happy with how the last six months have unfolded. It’s been a great ride, and I couldn’t have done it all by myself. I’m just very happy right now.”

As Nassib alluded to, none of this is the product of one man’s doing. Nassib took the coaching he received to heart, and instead of brushing it off and forging his own path, he applied it to his game. He applied it in the weight room, and all of that hard work and dedication culminated in the All-American recognition Nassib finally achieved.

Despite the astounding success Nassib’s enjoyed over the course of the season, a few trophies and prestigious accolades didn’t distort his vision or change him from the person he’s always been. And if you’re among those who’ve tried to remind him about remaining himself, Nassib’s taken note.

“I’ve had people tell me ‘don’t lose your head,’ and honestly it’s kind of insulting,” Nassib said. “I think when people are worried that I’m gonna change who I am… I’ve been doing the same thing and have been consistent with the same approach over the last five years. Just because people are starting to talk about me for the last eight weeks doesn’t mean I’m gonna change, so to me it’s insulting, but to think that I’m gonna change who I am because of a couple interviews is wrong. The media doesn’t really phase me.”

Strong words from a usually quiet leader who lets his body of work do the talking, but Nassib’s correct. He’s always been Carl Nassib, and just because he’s being talked about within NFL scouting circles doesn’t mean he’ll develop an ego. Maybe for other players in a similar position, the success would be overwhelming. It’d feel a lot different to me personally if I typed in the first four or five letters of my name on Google, and suddenly receive hundreds of thousands of hits instantly. But no, Carl Nassib never changed, and that speaks volumes about the type of man he is and the morals he lives by.

And after being sidelined for nearly a month, I pity the offensive tackle tasked with blocking Nassib. You better believe he’s ready to strap on that helmet and show everybody why he’s the nation’s premier defensive lineman.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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