Name: Brendan Nichols
School:  Tusculum University
Position: DT/DE
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 280

What goals did you set and/or accomplish in your final collegiate season?

This season I came into a new system that was based more on NFL defense concepts.  The goals essentially were to come in and start, but more importantly learn how to adapt in 3 weeks of camp to a new system and learn a new playbook and excel in it. I accomplished the art of adapting on such short notice and trying to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

Q: How do you think you took advantage of the extra year of eligibility to increase your chances of going pro?

I didn’t take the typical approach of putting up astronomical numbers. I had to take opportunities that were given and presented.  So, my way of taking advantage was using the mental aspect by learning how to watch film and increasing my football IQ. I think I’ve increased my chances of going pro because mentally I have taken my football knowledge to a higher level and physically, I got stronger, quicker, and more explosive. 

Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?

I’m a leader by default, I’m always the line leader in the front leading us out, the hype man of sorts. I’m the teammate you can count on. The one who’s going to keep it 100% real with you whether you’re right or wrong. I’m going to tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.

Q: When you are studying film, what are the things you focus on to improve your game?

After the coach has broken down their percentages of run or pass out different looks like 11,12,21,22, I then go in and look at the formations of each look and look at the tendencies of each player I might go up against. When I look at the tendencies, I mean how heavy they might be on their hand for a run play or how they’re foot is cocked back on a pass play. Even on formations if the back is in the pistol, it’s inside zone or if the back is outside the tacklebox, probably a flare pass or outside zone play or sweep.

Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?

My agility and flexibility, which in myself and my position the way I move as a 6’3 280-pound defensive tackle is very exceptional from the way I can flip my hips to the bend I have in my ankles and knees. I can bend corners and I also have a good vertical that I will display on my pro day. I have the strength, length, size, and flexibility to play an interior defensive line position or on the edge. I have the unique ability because of my athleticism to play on the field all downs whether it be a short yardage situation or obvious passing down because of my versatility anywhere on the defensive line.

Q: What is your offseason plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities?

As of right now I’m in a mixed type training. I have some days that I work on Pro Day and combine training, while other days I have regular position/conditioning workouts. I accepted my invite to the Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas this coming January. Once the showcase is completed my plan is to train 4 to 5 days a week with a strict nutrition regimen so that I’m ready to report in the proper condition for my first camp.

Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?

I’m a leader on and off the field.  I can help tremendously because I have 2 degrees, an Associates in liberal arts and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology with a concentration in Health and Fitness.  I will bring a winning mindset to the organization that gives me an opportunity.  One thing that I have learned is that being competitive can be contagious to teammates in a positive way which ultimately will help produce victories in the win column.  I will be certain to utilize my new platform to give back to my new community and make a difference in the lives of young people. 

Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL and any other pro leagues?

I just need an opportunity. I am a fierce competitor that will set a standard that everyone on the team will see through my daily example. In my life nothing has ever been given it all been earned and I’m not running from the challenge to earn a chance at a new life. I’m ready to embrace it, the entire process, even when it seems like there isn’t one, I’m ready for everything coming my way.