Exclusive: Nick Thurman Trying to Make Most of Shot With Patriotsby Sam Gordon May 6, 2020 0 comments
Texas. Where the sport of football may be just as important as breathing, is where defensive lineman Nick Thurman was born and raised.
“If you meet someone [in Texas], the first thing they are going to ask is, ‘How’s your football team,'” Thurman told Prime Time Sports Talk. “It’s definitely popular down here.”
However, the 24-year-old did not start with a football in his hand at a toddler’s age like most.
“I’m kind of a late boomer and I started playing football around eighth grade,” Thurman told Prime Time Sports Talk. “Originally, I was a basketball player, and my best friends at the time just told me to come out and start playing.”
Thurman originally played on the offensive line until his sophomore year of high school.
“One of our players had gotten hurt and my coach actually put me at defensive lineman,” Thurman said. “That’s how I made the transition from the offensive line to the defensive line.”
The change in position turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“The first couple of games that I played D-line were really good,” Thurman said. “I had a couple tackles, a couple of sacks, and tackles for a loss. It just kind of clicked for me at the time and people started taking me seriously.”
Colleges started looking at Thurman for his work on both the offensive and defensive lines. Ultimately, he went with the defensive side of the ball.
“I started getting defensive line offers in my junior year and I just decided that I was going with D-line over O-line,” Thurman said.”The fact that you can dictate a lot in the game and it’s just more fulfilling when you can just disrupt what the offense is trying to do.”
While he loves football in general, there is just something special about getting to the quarterback for Thurman.
“I just think there’s more glory than getting a sack then protecting them,” Thurman said. “If you get your sack, it’s glorious, man. You made that play, and you forced the issue.”
The Dallas native took his talents three and a half hours down the road to the University of Houston.
As a Cougar, Thurman started 19 games recording 92 tackles, 15 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks.
The University of Houston alum entered the 2018 NFL Draft, but his name was not called. While he admitted it was disappointing, it gave him that extra push to try harder.
“Of course it was disappointing not getting selected,” Thurman said. “But, I felt like that gave me that extra motivation to show what I have.”
He knew he was going to get his chance.
“I felt that I was going to get the opportunity,” Thurman said. “Especially in this business, you want to have confidence in your abilities and that’s something I always made sure to tell myself. That if I put in the work, that I do what I am supposed to do, then there’s going to be opportunities and that you have to take advantage of them.
In their backyard, the Texans signed Thurman in Mid-May of 2018 where he spent the summer before being released in September.
After a short stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thurman signed with the Patriots on May 2, 2019, and has remained here since spending time between the practice squad and 53-man roster.
Thurman reunited with Elandon Roberts, who was a teammate at the University of Houston, immediately helping him feel at home.
“When I originally joined the Patriots, I had teammates like Elandon Roberts that had been there already, and they just kind of took me under their wings,” Thurman said. “It was just a real good smooth transition. I’m blessed to be in an organization like this and it’s an honor to just be coached by these coaches.”
Even though there will be competition across the board to make the roster, the talent of all of his teammates excites him for what they can do collectively.
“We have a wonderful group of people where every player has something that they’re good at,” Thurman said.
Now going into his second preseason with the team, Thurman is excited to showcase his talents once again this summer and to display what he can bring that no other player can.
“With my versatility, I feel like I can do a lot of things for the team. I can do it all,” Thurman said.
Thurman is excited for the day when he can see all of the Patriots fans whom he says are a special group.
“I feel like there’s so much pride because of where the Patriots were before all of the success that they have had,” Thurman said. “You’re not just representing a city, you’re representing a whole area of states that personally I did not know a lot about. You ask me about what’s in New Hampshire and Vermont, I really couldn’t tell you. [But what I can tell you] is that there’s a lot of pride here and people love their team. Win or lose, they just appreciate the history of the success and that’s what I’m looking forward to this year is continuing that.”