In a league where big names often overshadow unheralded talent, local standout Trevor Nowaske is scripting a different story. A former athlete from Canton’s Salem High School before starring at Saginaw Valley State, Nowaske is fighting tooth and nail for a permanent spot on the Detroit Lions roster after signing as an undrafted free agent.
The Rise of Nowaske
At Saginaw Valley State, Nowaske wasn’t just any player – he was a leader, and a dynamic linebacker with an insatiable passion for studying film. A total of 15 NFL teams attended the GLIAC conference pro day to scout talent, primarily focusing on Nowaske. Nowaske didn’t disappoint.
As SVSU football coach Ryan Brady gushed, “Trevor stole the show.”
Nowaske’s Remarkable Athletic Prowess
Nowaske’s impressive athleticism – a 4.5-second 40 time and agility scores like a 6.75-second three-cone and 4.2-second short shuttle – proved his mettle to the scouts watching that day. Add in his 34.5-inch vertical and 10’2” broad jump, and it’s clear Nowaske has the raw talent to make it in the NFL.
Nowaske’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS), a measure of an NFL draft pick’s overall athleticism, was a staggering 9.85 out of 10 – ranking him 38th out of 2,503 linebackers tested since 1987.
The athletic linebacker is also known for his physical brand of football. He led his team with 98 total tackles, four interceptions, and seven pass breakups. “There wasn’t a category that Trevor didn’t dominate,” Brady said. In an interview with NFLDraftDiamonds.com, Nowaske discussed his approach to the linebacker position:
I bring a violent, yet under control level of energy on game days. I understand that football is a violent sport, but also understand that you need to be able to harness that physicality in ways that help you make plays, so I make sure that before a game, I mentally focus on the task at hand, and make sure to not let my emotions get the best of me.
The ‘Campbell’ Factor
Nowaske’s play and his candid approach to interviews bear a striking resemblance to first-round pick Jack Campbell. His violent, controlled energy and commitment to the game have earned him a reputation as a “Dan Campbell guy,” a moniker bestowed on players who personify the same passion and grit.
Nowaske’s meticulous preparation sets him apart from other linebackers. He revealed, “My ability to watch and process film throughout the week scouting our opponent has helped me be the most prepared I can be on game day.”
When asked what type of player an NFL team would get if they drafted him, Nowaske confidently shared:
They would get someone that is not only an exceptional athlete on the field, but also someone who is a student of the game. Football requires physical, and mental strength, and my ability to stay positive in tough situations, and dissect offensive tendencies has allowed me to put myself in the position that I am in today, which I believe came from hard work and sacrifice over the years.
A Promising Prospect for the Lions
Nowaske’s potential impact on the Lions is undefined at the moment, however, it appears he fits the mold of the type of player that the Detroit Lions want in their building. As a player with exceptional athleticism, a student of the game, and a knack for staying positive in tough situations, he’s uniquely positioned to excel when given the opportunity. Whether he earns a spot on the 53-man roster or the practice squad, Nowaske’s story of a local kid making it big in his hometown team is an inspiration for young athletes all over the state of Michigan.
In the words of his former Coach Brady, “He’s the total package.” And the Lions, and their fans, are excited to witness it on the football field.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Jeff Nguyen, Detroit Lions