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Freezer is heating up

By Cliff Smith






Nicholas Grigsby is hungry. Nowadays his appetite is geared toward getting recognition as one of the premier football prospects in the state of Ohio. That was not always the case though.

Grigsby’s head coach at Trotwood-Madison HS let it slip that he’s had a nickname since he was a little kid. When asked if he prefers to be called Nick or Nicholas, Coach Maurice Douglass had this to say, “We all just call him Freezer cause that’s what his mom calls him.”

With my curiosity piqued, I had to find out more from Grigsby himself. “My mom started calling me Freezer when I was a kid cause I was always in the fridge or freezer looking for food. I had so much energy all the time, I was always eating.” revealed Grigsby. “I’d just run right back outside and burn it off anyway.”

Whatever his mother was feeding him all that time sure seems to have helped him develop into an outstanding football player and vital member of his high school team.

Grigsby completed his junior season last fall and will be the team’s returning leader in tackles and sacks for 2010. He’s one of the more athletic linebackers you’ll find in the Ohio class for 2011. A review of his highlights show a player that seems more comfortable in space yet physical enough to knock some heads between the tackles. His abilities in coverage and to jam receivers at the line are also earning him kudos.

His junior season was one where his team fell to the eventual Division 2 state champions in a semi-final round playoff game. As painful as accepting that loss was, it only served to highlight Grigsby’s eagerness to build for bigger things in the future.

“It was hard but it’s in the past. Coach (Douglass) has us working hard and moving on.” He went on to detail some of that work, “All the guys not in sports now are working out as a team. After those workouts are done, me and some other guys are staying after to put in more work. Coach expects the upperclassmen to lead and that’s what I’m going to do. We’ve got to show these young guys what it takes so we can take the next step this season.”

Asked if he’s vying to be elected a captain on the team, Grigsby’s response was, “It’d be cool if I am. If that’s what Coach needs me to be, that’s what I’ll be. I’m going to work just as hard either way.”

And just what has all of that extra training done to improve his game? A look at some of the numbers he has posted at recent combines tells the tale.

On Jan. 30 of this year, Grigsby attended the Next Level Football Combine in Massillon, OH. He measured in at 6’1” and 204 pounds but what really made eyes pop were a couple of his testing numbers. After starting with the third best forty yard dash time of 4.67 seconds (laser timed) and ending with a combine best (tie) 9’11” broad jump, the scouts on hand were eager to get a look at Grigsby in some actual football drills. He obviously didn’t disappoint in those exercises either as he was named to the all combine team as a linebacker.

A planned return trip to Massillon for the Nike Football camp on March 6 was jeopardized when Grigsby strained his hip flexor the week before. “I had already signed up for it and I know I can hang with those guys even if I’m not 100%,” declared Grigsby. “It turned out alright but I know I could have done much better.”

“Alright” is a relative term considering he not only attended but he posted a SPARQ rating of 93.75. That score was good enough to get him elected as one of the top 7 performers out of the nearly one thousand in attendance. I would think that kind of recognition from “the worldwide leader” would greatly increase a person’s confidence.

“Not really. I never had any doubts I could do that. None of the guys there could intimidate me or make me doubt myself. It’s nice to hear that, you know. See my name up there and all. But confidence was never a problem for me,” asserted Grigsby.

Looking back at my notes confirms that Coach Douglass agrees, “He’s really coming on for us and starting to have that look you want from your top guys. If he keeps doing the right things, the sky is the limit. He can be a big time player.”

The question then becomes, do college coaches agree with that opinion? It seems more and more they do. Prior to his impressive combine performances, Grigsby had offers in hand from Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami (OH), and Toledo. “Toledo and BG are showing the most interest,” said Grigsby. “Michigan State and Illinois are starting to look too. Those are two teams I’ll look at hard.”

As for what factors will interest him, Grigsby had this to say, “Position doesn’t matter and most schools haven’t really said. The academic program, the training facilities, somewhere I’m comfortable, and some place that’s not too cold. I’m used to the weather here. Michigan State doesn’t sound much different but that’s about as far as I’m thinking now.”

That sounds like distance from home could possibly affect the decision, “I don’t know yet. Leaving home is possible. I just have to see where I fit in first,” stated Grigsby. “I know I want to take all of my visits so I can be sure. And I’m not going to be rushing anything so picking a school might take til signing day.”

It doesn’t sound like schools will have any concerns over accepting Grigsby either, “I’ve been around a 3 on my GPA all year. I’m taking the test (ACT) again next month, I think. I didn’t like my first score.”

With all that said, do any schools stand out as a favorite at this time? “Not at all. I’m wide, wide open as can be. I’m listening to anybody who’s talking.” Said Grigsby.

From the sounds of things, that talking will do nothing but increase in the coming months. After his combine showings, Grigsby’s name is on many more lips than it has been. Now that he’s one of the hottest prospects in the Midwest, it might be time to come up with a new nickname for Freezer.

Nicholas Grigsby
Early Projected Ranking: 5.7/

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*Photo courtesy of ScoutingOhio.Com