This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WESTTOWN — Carl Nassib has never let anyone knock him down or take away his dreams.
When Nassib told one of his coaches he wanted to play in the NFL one day, the coach kicked him out of his office.
“It didn’t deter me from my goal at all,” Nassib said. “It really just lit a fire in me that I used as fuel to get better and improve.”
Now, with the 2016 NFL Draft to get underway tonight, Nassib finds himself a prospect, projected to be drafted in the third or fourth round — perhaps even earlier.
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However, before what could be the biggest day so far in his life, Nassib stopped by his old stomping grounds in West Chester as a surprise visitor at St. Maximilian Kolbe School on Wednesday.
“It’s great (to be back),” he said. “I was here a few years ago and my brother came back a few years ago. I love seeing all the kids and seeing all my old teachers from 10 years ago.”
St. Max’s, a parish elementary school for pre-K through eighth grade, welcomed Nassib with chants of “Carl! Carl!” as he entered.
Nassib attended St. Max starting in second grade when it first opened in 2000 before going to Malvern Prep for high school.
It’s at St. Max where he first found his love of football in a flag football game, which only added to his family’s roots in the sport.
“My dad was a football player and my older brother is a football player,” Nassib said. “We’re a very football oriented family. I just love the physicality of the game and the team aspect of the game.”
Nassib fought his way through his football career, having never started a single game at Malvern Prep and as a walk-on at Penn State University.
He didn’t even become a starter with the Nittany Lions until his senior year, but made it all count as he set a school season record with sacks and received several recognitions and awards for his hard work during the season.
His breakout year even caught the attention of NFL scouts as he now finds himself anxiously awaiting the draft to see if any team calls his name.
“I’m going in with an open mind,” Nassib said. “Wherever I go, I’m blessed to go there at whatever point in the draft. It’s all great. I’m very excited to be in the NFL and realize my dreams and improve my game further.”
Nassib plans to just hang out at his parents’ home during the three-day draft.
On Wednesday, he told the St. Max students about never losing faith, friends or giving up on your dreams — a message he wishes to share with as many youth as he can.
“I just hope that they really take it to heart that you can do anything if you work harder than anybody and just try your absolute best,” Nassib said. “People say that it’s a myth that you can’t do whatever you want. As a kid, I knew I wanted to do this.”