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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Coach talk: 2014 RB Nick Scott

By Josh Moyer

What kind of player is Penn State getting in Nick Scott? And what can fans expect?

NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows best what the 2014 PSU commit is capable of on the field -- Kevin Simonds, his high school coach at Fairfax (Va.) -- and asked what separates Scott as a player, how he first noticed Scott's ability and when the player especially showcased his potential.

RB Nick Scott, Fairfax (Va.), 5-foot-11, 187 pounds

Simonds, on what separates Scott from others at his position: "Well, obviously, you can see the physicality of him with his size. He's not overly large, he's not like those SEC-type running backs you see where he's 6-1, 220 pounds -- Alabama was actually recruiting him pretty well, but they liked him at corner -- and he has an older brother at Holy Cross who's 6-1, almost 205 pounds. Penn State projects Nick to be somewhere in that range. So, he'll be a 6-1, 205-pound kid running a 4.4.

"And it's just his ability and vision. When you take his combination of size and speed, there's not -- in our area, at least -- a whole lot of guys that have that ability. I think what really helped turn Nick into that BCS kid, too, was when colleges got a chance to listen to him talk. When you see his athletic ability and match that with his character, you just know you want that kid in your locker room. When he's in your locker room, it's a different locker room.

"And he's got almost a 39-inch vertical, and it's his catching ability. He can come out of the backfield and catch swing passes, and he can do vertical routes. He's out-leaping guys who are 6-4."

When he first knew Scott would be special: "Nick came to us at the beginning of the school year from Brookline, Mass., because of a family job ... and, after he enrolled, they looked into football, and his parents mentioned he was an avid football player who would like to try out for the team. They sent me some video and were very humble and were just like, 'Let us know what you think.' And, as soon as I turned on the film and watched two minutes, I just said, 'Wow.'

"I saw there was a flow about his ability. He's not a herky-jerky, run-you-over or make-a-bunch-of-moves runner. It's one cut and go. With that 4.4 speed, he just takes off. He's a Gayle Sayers-ish type runner; he glides like Eric Dickerson and just make cuts on the dime.

"And, when I got to talk to him, he was very much a 'Yes, sir. No, sir' kid. The first day we had our summer workouts, he was the first kid in line waiting at the door. We have a 7 a.m. workout, and he was there at 6:45, bright-eyed and ready to go: 'Good morning, Coach!' And what set him apart is after that workout in late July, he came back inside to help with our freshmen."

When Scott surprised him or really showcased his ability: "In our scrimmage against Hayfield, which is one of the better Div. 5 teams in the state, they kicked off to him, and he split up the middle and basically went 88 yards without being touched. And Hayfield has tremendous athletes. So, to see him breaking away from them, we just looked at each other and were like, 'Wow. Did we really just see that happen?'

"And in his first game, our home game, it was interesting because we stopped them on defense, and they were getting ready to punt, so he was back deeper. And a commentator said, 'Here's our first chance to see transfer Nick Scott for the Rebels, one of the better players coming from the Boston area.' Well, he caught the punt return around the 48- or 50-yard line and basically outran the entire punt team to the sideline, broke a tackle, spun off another and stepped out at the 1. He dove in and almost got it, but he just got pushed out at the 1. Everyone was like, well, there he goes. Welcome to Virginia, Nick Scott."