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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Nick DeAngelis, K, Penn State University

  • Name: Nick DeAngelis
  • Height: 5’10
  • Weight: 175
  • Position: Place Kicker
  • College: Penn State
  • Twitter: nickdeangelis99

Background:

I have an interesting background. I played basketball and soccer my whole life. Until the Spring of my Junior year in high school, the dream was to become a professional basketball player. That’s when I discovered a hidden talent. One day my good friend, who was the long snapper for our high school football team, texted in our group chat asking if anyone wanted to catch his snaps, I wasn’t doing anything so I told him I would. Little did I know that day would change my life. When we were finished, we decided to fool around and see who could make the most field goals. We teed the ball up in my sneaker and kicked. Eventually I made my way back to the 35-yard line and made a 45-yard field goal. He took a video of me and sent it to our high school football coach and the rest is history. I played my Senior season and went on to set a state record for field goals in a game as well as other school records. My coaches were convinced that I could play college ball at a high level. It was late in the process and I got some looks from some big-time schools, but they all had their guys. I wound up playing at William Paterson University, a local Division III school, where I started as a true Freshman winning Special Teams Player of the Year and only the second specialist in school history to ever be named Offensive Freshman of the Year. Fast forward two years and my hard work had paid-off and I walked on to the Penn State football team. I was one of only three to make the roster out of 105 who tried out. I was noticed by the coaches and said I was in contention for the starting job once my Redshirt year was over. Unfortunately, due to transfer rules and eligibility it did not pan out. The amount of credits I needed to become eligible wasn’t attainable in the needed time frame. I have since been training for the NFL and was recently invited to Coach Zauner’s specialist combine in Gilbert, Arizona at the end of February. I am excited for the road ahead as I make my run at the NFL

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?  

I am from Ramsey, New Jersey and have lived here all my life. Its your typical town; not to big not to small and located just about 3o minutes North of New York City. Ramsey is also about an hour from the Jersey Shore.. It’s a very sports-oriented town and everyone who lives here is interested in our high school athletics as if they were college or profession teams. The thing I love most about my town is the friendships I formed over the years. Weve all known each other since we’rekids and have a bond that is literally unbreakable. We always had each others backs and are always there for one another just like brothers.

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

These three aspects of the game are without a doubt extremely important as each one helps one to be the best player possible.. I would rank the three in the following order:

1 Strength and Conditioning – This is where the foundation of an athletes game is built. All the hard work behind the scenes in the weight room will dictate the type of player one will be on the field  It’s where an athlete gets bigger, faster, and stronger. The one who works hard off the field will usually outperform his opponents in the later stages of the game. This is so crucial because its when most games can be won or lost. 

2. Film Study – As a place kicker most of my film study centers around three very important teammates; the snapper, holder, and of course, the kicker. Timing has to be perfect every time. I am also able to see my steps and determine the projection of the ball and make corrections. As far as weekly opponents, I like watching and understanding where the pressure may be coming from. 

3. Practice – This is what I call the dress rehearsal for each week. As a kicker, I get limited time on the field each session to perfect my craft and make the necessary adjustments under game situations. Unlike receivers or running backs, we dont get 30 plays a game. We may have three or four opportunities and when they come, they have to be nothing less than perfect. Practice is extremely vital to be a successful football player. They say Practice makes perfect” but I like to say Perfect practice makes perfect.

What do you worry about, and why?

What I worry about most is letting the ones I love down because they have sacrificed so much for me to be in the position I am in today. Failure is not an option for me after so many people have done so much for me.

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

A time in my life when I failed was when I was unable to get into Rutgers and was told I wasnt quite ready or good enough. I reacted to that by putting my head down and working my tail off until I reached my goal. Hearing I couldnt do something only fueled the fire and made me want it that much more. One of my favorite quotes is The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. I wasnt going to let someone telling me that I couldnt do something get in the way of attaining my goal. I overcame this by working hard for two years on and off the field and was able to walk on the #2 team in the country at the time and become part of one of the finest programs in the country; Penn State University.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates say my best quality is my work ethic. I have the mindset that nobody is going to outwork me. Kickers are always referred to as having it easy and not practicing hard. I take great pride in trying to change that stereotype and be one of the hardest workers on the team. At Penn State I was called out after only three weeks on the team by Coach Huff remarking, If you want to know how to work hard, watch this guy.” As a reward, I was given the job of breaking down the team after practice. A job normally not given to a walk on kicker.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

As a kicker it’s different I never really had to, quote on quote, face another player but playing at Penn State I got to see some pretty good athletes. I think one of the best players we faced was JT Barrett from Ohio State. From a kicking standpoint the best kicker that was on the opposing team would be Griffin Oakes who played at Indiana. I remember watching how the ball popped off his foot. He was definitely one of the better kickers I’ve seen.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football?

If I couldnt play football, I would definitely pursue a career in Education. Ive been fortunate to be able to work with kids in the past and helping them learn is something I find extremely fulfilling. The real reason I would want to be a teacher is to be able to help influence young lives and hopefully change some for the better. I would want to be a role model and someone students could look up to and know they could go to for help whether it be in the classroom or in everyday life.

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

I would say car. The reason being is that people usually treat their car as they do themselves. I think a clean car is representative of a person and people who see this on the outside would most likely know that my personal spaces are the same. 

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

If there was a disaster and I could save three strangers or one of my family members I would have to go with saving one of my family members. I feel this way simply because I believe that family comes first and they are the most important thing in the world to me. I would do anything for family!

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

If I was able to be one movie character, I would probably have to say Rocky Balboa. I love that he was just an ordinary guy trying to make it in the boxing world. He got his opportunity and while he was the underdog, he made the most of it. Sound familiar?

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how youve dealt with or overcome it?

The biggest adversity in my life would probably be when I was at William Paterson and wanted to transfer to a big-time school. Everyone thought I had pipe dreams and that this goal was not a reality. It would have been very easy for me to quit instead, I overcame that adversity by working hard on the field and academically. I made the Deans knowing that academics were crucial to my acceptance to a big school. I envisioned the outcome and I realized that sight when I made the Penn State roster.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

My most embarrassing moment was after warming up at my first game in Beaver Stadium. I was running back to the locker room and the fans would be near our tunnel so they could see us up close. There was a guy who put his hand out for a high five and I missed it so, I went back to give him a high five but as I turned around to run toward him I slipped and fell in front of about 100 Penn State fans.  

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

I started my collegiate career at a small Division III school in North Jersey. My most memorable play there would be against Montclair State, a team we hadnt beat In 21 years. I had hit the go ahead field goal in the third quarter in a game we would go on to win because of it. A memorable play from my time at Penn State would be my first practice on the team and Coach Franklin called me up in front of the entire team to hit a 46-yard field goal, If I made it, practice would be over. If I missed, the team would run sprints. I stepped up and made it and all the guys around me celebrating including Saquon Barkley was cool for me and something I will always remember. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

The song that best describes my work ethic would probably be Congratulations by Post Malone. I chose this song because Post Malone goes on to say how he dreamed of making it as a kid and a lot of people doubted him saying that he would never amount to much. I can definitely relate to that. The line in the song that I feel best describes my work ethic though would be Worked so hard forgot how to vacation. Thats mentality you need. To be able to work so hard day in and day out to be able to achieve your goal.

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level?

The most important trait that I can have to be successful at the next level would have to be mental toughness. In the kicking game mental toughness is everything, Being able to block out all of the distractions during a game and just focus on the task at hand is vital to being a successful kicker. You have to have laser focus and be locked in at all times.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

If I could bring one person back from the dead for one day it would without hesitation be my Aunt Lisa. She took her life a couple of years ago. She was like my second mom. We were so close and did everything together. She was so kind-hearted and funny and never failed to make you smile. There isnt a day that goes by where I don’t miss her. I’d bring her back to try and make her see the pain her loved ones would feel if she left them behind and let her know that she was loved very much and that any problem can be remedied.  I know for my mom, her sister and brothers, and my grandparents would be so happy to see her as well.

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it?

If I had to name a dance club, I would name it Lets Kick It. I think that name fits what I do pretty well and would describe people dancing and having a god time as well.

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

The most underrated player in the NFL in my opinion is Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think Fitz is so underrated he always seems to make big time plays and finds a way to win no matter what, He is a fearless runner. You dont see many quarterbacks lowering their shoulder. I think hes a great NFL quarterback!

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

I personally would rather be respected than liked. Respect goes along way. When someone respects you it means they admire what you do, what you stand for and how you work. Someone not liking me isnt going to make me lose sleep at night but being respected is very important to me. Earning someones respect speaks volumes about who you are as an athlete and a person. it means at some point in time you made a lasting impression on someone. 

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

Johnny Manziel. He was a phenomenal college football player but was dealing with a substance abuse issue. I feel like everyone just pegs him as someone who parties and didnt care about football when in reality, he was dealing with an illness. I would love for him to get another shot at some point now that he has gotten the proper help.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

There is nothing more in the world that I hate more than losing. If you don’t go out and get the win you failed. Anything less than a win is unacceptable. You put in so much time and effort into winning and when you go out and don’t get the job done it’s a terrible feeling.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

The Biggest influence on my life has been my parents. Having their support and love in everything I do is such an amazing feeling, They are always encouraging me and remind me when things get tough the tough get going. As a kid growing up my mom always told me to never ever give up and my dad always reminded me, even to this day, that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and work hard. It’s a big reason I am where I am today. The amount of sacrifices they have made for me to do what I love is unreal. I see how hard they work. I have learned from them. Seeing everything they’ve done for me motivates me even more because someday I will pay them back and they will be able to live a care-free life.  If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I will forever be grateful to the both of them.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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