Nick Scott (Dawgman.com)
SEATTLE - When Nick Scott travels with the Washington Huskies to Eugene, Ore. Saturday night to take on the Oregon Ducks, it will become pretty clear that the former Drake Bulldog isn't playing in the Pioneer League anymore. Nowdays, it's all about the Pac-10 Conference - the Conference of Champions.
"It's kind of surreal to be playing in an atmosphere like here, where there are national implications," Scott told Dawgman.com Tuesday. "And I don't take it for granted one bit."
Not when he's got his family by his side.
With the NCAA granting the fourth-year offensive tackle a waiver to play immediately at Washington this past summer, Scott was well on his way toward fulfilling a goal, one that bore fruit during fall camp as he was announced in the two-deeps for the Oregon game.
"My goal was to start from the bottom and work my way up," he said. It was a tough camp. There was a lot of good competition, but I guess (Washington Offensive Line) Coach (Mike) Denbrock thought my play was good enough to put me number-two."
And the whole time his Mother Cheryl and sister Monica were in Seattle, thrilled that Scott had made it back home.
Even though his family had left the Emerald City for St. Louis by the time Nick was in the second grade (he has no real recollection of his time in Seattle as a child), his mother always had visions of returning as soon as Nick finished high school.
So in that sense, the place he had left as a youngster was still his home. "I've always called this (Seattle) home," Scott said. "Home is where your Mom is."
But coming home again created some uncertainties. At Drake he was a two-year starter, a guy the Bulldogs could count on to protect the quarterback's blind side - the ultimate anchor. At Washington, he could sink.
Scott had other plans. "Whenever I put my heart into something and put my best foot forward, I have a great opportunity to come out ahead," he said. "If I make a decision with my best interests at heart, it's never a bad decision."
He made a great decision to play football going into high school in St. Louis, but he didn't even play on the OL until his senior year. It seemed like Scott was a bundle of nasty athleticism, waiting to uncoil on some unsuspecting opponents. But the opportunities never came to play D-1 ball, so he gladly went to Drake on a full ride.
But family comes first, and when he had a small window of opportunity given to him by the NCAA to jump to UW after Drake released him from his scholarship at the end of 2007, he took it.
His first phone call was to Washington. "I sent them my highlight film and they got back to me and it kind of snowballed from there," Scott said. "Any college football fan should be in awe of the history of the football program."
"I remember Mike Denbrock told me there would be a guy coming in that we needed to talk to," UW Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano said. "He came in and looked great on the hoof. He started a little slow in camp, but he's whittled off about 20 pounds and with that started to come the athleticism you were hoping for.
"He said he was tough and he is. He's going to be a nice addition. He's going to play a little bit this year, I guarantee you. He's gotten a lot better this last week. That was a nice addition there. We were a little thin."
"He's done some nice things in camp," added Denbrock. "I think we knew when we saw some film of when he played at Drake that he had some talent and could maybe translate to this level. I think it ended up the best way it possibly could for both parties. We benefit, he benefits, and hopefully our team benefits too."
At 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds, Scott has definitely slimmed down from the robust 337 pounds he weighed in at the beginning of camp. "I definitely feel better, feel like I'm moving better," he said. "So whenever they call my name on Saturday, I'll be ready."
According to Denbrock, it took about two weeks for Scott to find his legs, as well as his voice. "Once he got comfortable, his talent started to show," he said. "Then you could see some real promise."
No wonder. It's because he's at home.
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