Nick Padla said the Michigan State offer 'was the one I wanted really bad.' (Photo courtesy of Allen Trieu)
Nick Padla admits there were times he thought his dream of playing major college football would never happen. The Berrien Springs High senior offensive tackle simply controlled what he could, improving his game and making sure colleges knew who he was.
Last weekend, the fruits of his labor were fully realized when the Michigan State Spartans attended his game against Paw Paw, and afterward, offered him a scholarship -- one he accepted Saturday when he visited East Lansing.
“That was the one I wanted really bad,” Padla told Spartan Digest’s Mike Wilson. “This was the place I really wanted to go. I grew up watching them and it’s been ever since I was a little kid, so it’s a dream come true.”
At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Padla’s frame, demeanor and west Michigan roots have drawn comparisons to current Spartan left tackle Jack Conklin, who hails from nearby Plainwell. Padla’s head coach, Bill Bergan, has had him on varsity for a few years and has seen his development into a Big Ten-level recruit, and says the Spartans are getting a kid who is going to give everything he has.
“He really wants to be a finisher,” Bergan said. “He's a guy that has that nasty edge about him, plays to the whistle, and will do whatever is needed and what his coaches ask of him and more. I think he's extremely smart and he gets better each week. He doesn't make the same mistakes twice; he's very coachable.”
Padla camped with Michigan State, and made sure he got in front of the coaches at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy over the summer. Since then, he visited several times and patiently waited for word of an offer. When it finally came, it was validation of a process started long ago.
“I would say that the real work probably came right after the season,” Bergan said, “along with everyone else on our team. He kind of led the charge with the weight room and the speed training and plyometric stuff. He did it Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, religiously, even on holidays. He'd come here with the coaches, worked it out with my father on his pass set, footwork and hand placement, and really put in the time. He was driven and that's what really spurred his growth, and he's excited to get to Michigan State.”
Padla chose the Spartans over offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Toledo and others.
Nicholson takes official to Michigan State
Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway High four-star safety and receiver Montae Nicholson was an official visitor for Saturday’s game against South Florida. After the trip he called MSU’s campus “huge” and “gorgeous,” but most of all he enjoyed his interaction with the coaches.
“Any time the head coach takes the time to talk to you before the game about what they’re trying to do, that just shows me they’re very interested and very sincere and they care,” Nicholson said to Scout.com’s Brian Dohn. “I watched practice and hung out with the players, but the thing that reached me the most was how sincere the coaches were. It’s not like they were blowing smoke at me. They were sincere and honest with what they were saying.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Nicholson will take official visits to Pittsburgh and Oregon, as well. A decision is not expected until after the season. Recruited by many schools on defense, the Spartans are recruiting him on both sides of the ball.
Visitors for Youngstown State game
The most significant visitor for this Saturday’s game against Youngstown State will be Cincinnati Winton Woods four-star senior defensive tackle Daniel Cage. He will be joined by Northville junior David Moorman, who does not have a Spartan offer yet, but is very much on the board. Lapeer East senior linebacker Kyle Rachwal is among the other recruits expected to be in attendance.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan State recruiting column appears every Friday at detroitnews.com. For more on MSU recruiting, visit michiganstate.scout.com.