The Midshipmen have developed a tradition of exceptional linebacker play over the course of the last seven seasons, with names such as Lane Jackson, Rob Caldwell, and Ross Pospisil playing major roles in the program's ascendance to service academy football dominance.
At six-foot, two-inches tall and weighing in at 215-pounds, former Great Valley (PA) linebacker John Michael Nurthen hopes to carry on that tradition and bring his hard-nosed, ‘throwback' mentality to the gridiron of Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this fall. I recently caught up with the former All-Area standout, who told me about his plans for his freshmen year at Navy and beyond.
Did you attend the Blue and Gold Game in Annapolis? If so, how was your experience? Have you met any of your future Navy teammates yet?
No, I wanted to but I wasn't able to go. I play baseball in the spring and I had a game that same night.
What kind of interest were you getting from other schools? Did you have any other scholarship offers? What made you choose to commit to being a Midshipman?
When I chose Navy my decision came down between the Midshipmen, Princeton, and Cornell. I visited all three, but I've always had the dream of attending the Naval Academy and I feel that when blessed with that kind of an opportunity, you can't possibly let it go. I had a few other FCS offers like Holy cross and Lehigh, and VMI even offered me a scholarship; but Navy was by far the best program. I wanted to be part of the ‘brotherhood.'
You played fullback and linebacker in high school. Which position did Navy recruit you to play in college? Which coach recruited you? Did he let you know how you will fit into the scheme at Navy?
Navy recruited me to play linebacker, and I was recruited by Coach Dale Pehrson, who coaches the defensive line. I've been told that I will begin by playing inside linebacker in the defensive scheme.
What do you think your greatest strengths are as a football player? Are there any specific college athletes – whether they are Navy players or guys from other schools – who you try to model your game after or think that you compare to?
I feel that my quickness and speed has helped me greatly as a football player, but I think my biggest strength is my intensity and heart. I will do anything to beat the guy across from me. I love the ‘throwbacks' in football; guys like Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus. My dad grew up playing the old fashion "eat nails and drink muddy water" type of football and I feel that is the only way football should be played, and the way I try to play it.
I saw an article which pegged you as one of the Top 15 linebackers in Southeastern Pennsylvania. What does it mean to you to receive those kinds of accolades?
I think it is pretty cool that I was mentioned in the paper. It felt pretty good when I had friends' parents whom I had never met before come and congratulate me. But I feel talk is cheap; they can give me all the accolades they want but I haven't proven anything yet.
Will you be attending NAPS or will you come to the Academy as a direct entry recruit?
I will be coming directly this summer, no NAPS for me.
What are you looking forward to most about playing football at Navy?
I am looking most forward to being part of the Navy football family, the ‘brotherhood.'
Do you know what you want to major in?
I enjoy math and chemistry a lot and will probably go into studying one of those two subjects. However, I don't want to close any doors and I am definitely staying open for anything that may come my way.
What do you know about the service commitment for after you graduate? Have any potential service selections (Marine Corps, Surface Warfare, Aviation, etc…) especially interested you?
I know I have to serve for five years after graduation, but I feel I will be a part of the Navy for much longer than that. When I chose Navy I knew it was a life choice, and I can't wait to see what I can get myself into. I'm colorblind, so my job opportunities are limited, but I won't let that phase me by any means. As of now, I have no idea what career I am going to pursue.
Finish the sentence. The one thing Navy fans should know about me is…
The one thing Navy fans should know about me is I bring 110 percent everyday.
GoMids thanks John for speaking with Adam Nettina, and wishes the high school senior only the best during his career as a Midshipmen and a Division I athlete. To get in touch with Adam, feel free to drop him a line at AdamNettina - at - gmail.com