2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Nick Whiteside II, CB, Saginaw Valley State
- Name: Nick Whiteside II
- Height: 6’1
- Weight: 205
- Position: CB
- College: Saginaw Valley State University
- Twitter: nwhiteside2_
- Instagram: nwhiteside2_
Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My experience overall has been good. I’ve made Dean’s list the past 4 years. Back home, I have done community service with Habitat for Humanity. I have performed observational hours with the athletic trainers, and I will be doing an internship in strength and conditioning with them this fall. As my time is coming to an end in college, I can say that I’ve enjoyed myself both on and off the field.
What do your teammates say is your best quality?
I believe that I’m a hard worker. It’s like I don’t know how to sit down. I’m always training to be better.
What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
My role is to be one of the leaders of the team by setting an example for others to follow. I’m good at attacking the ball as a DB. I can follow the best guy on the field, having the ability to take away the #1 WR. I feel like I’m very versatile and can fit into any scheme. I’ve played under 2 coaching staffs. As a freshman, I played a lot of zone where I was able to hold my own. Since the new coaches came in, we have played a lot of match quarters and man-to-man defense. This upcoming season, I’m ready to play wherever the coaches need me, whether that be outside corner, slot or safety. Most of my experience is on the outside at boundary corner. Early on as a freshman, I played a lot of special teams, but I shifted away from that when I became the full-time starter. I have returned punts.
Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
We played against Texas A & M Commerce this past season who had 2 taller WRs. I was matched up against Chance Cooper who was playing really well. I studied a lot of his film leading up to the game and did a good job at covering him.
Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
RB Nate McCreary passed the eye test early on when he played at SVSU. He was physically gifted and a hard worker. He was the first to show me that you can be a leader by putting in the work. He’s now playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
Chad Gailliard was with me when I first came to SVSU. He is a very talented WR. He had all the tools to be successful. He was one of the key playmakers that helped put us on the map.
Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
The main struggle that I had to deal with when I first got to college was that my coaches asked me to make a position change. I signed my letter of intent expecting to come play WR. That transition was hard at first, trying to go backwards when I was so used to going forward. It took me a while to develop the proper technique. There were times when I struggled where I questioned whether I still wanted to play football. I had to get my mindset right, knowing that not every hardship has an easy path (sometimes it’s crooked instead of straight).
There were a lot of people that helped me find my way through those hard times. My Uncle Reggie helped me get my confidence, encouraging me to not just make it, but to make my mark and stay there. Coach Mason trained me as a receiver, yet he set the foundation of good habits that helped me become a great DB. I trained with Chad Wilson (who’s the father of Quincy and Marco). During my time with him, I was around NFL pros and learned how to be a professional and know that I belong in the NFL. My Secondary Coach, Coach McKeown, taught me secrets that helped me flick the switch and not only become the best DB in our conference or Division 2, but one of the best in college football.
If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I played lacrosse, track and basketball in high school. Basketball was my first love. That sport has always been in my family. Both of my sisters play. I played basketball ever since I was little until I got to college.
What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m very proud of getting my degree. It was a long process through COVID, and I’m happy to be where I am with my classes.
Some of my best accomplishments include being named AP All-American, First Team All-Conference and GLIAC DB of the Year in 2021.
Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Last year against Texas A&M Commerce, I was able to get my first pick 6. We knew by studying tape that they were mostly a spread team. I knew that when my assignment was in the slot that he typically ran an out route. We called a cover 2, I came up to press and didn’t show what I was going to do. The #2 receiver ran an out route, I snatched the ball in the air, made a cut and got down field for the score. That game was a great defensive game being played by both teams, but we ended up winning it 17-14.
Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite athlete of all-time is Kobe Bryant. He always had the best work ethic and was determined to be the best. I’m also a fan of the Golden State Warriors. As far as football, I study players like Kyle Fuller and Trevon Mullen. Fuller is very versatile and similar to my size and skill set. Mullen is long, lanky and uses his body well as a defender.
Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Kanye West is my favorite artist. His song “24” is on repeat as I prepare for a game. It allows me to give praise and thanks to God for what he gives me every day.
What is your favorite comfort food?
My Mom’s Macaroni.
Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite TV show is an anime called Attack on Titans. One of my favorite movies is Rush Hour 2. And Will Smith is one of my favorite actors.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I like listening to podcasts on real estate and investing. I enjoy playing video games like Madden. One of my talents, given that I come from a church family, is that I can sing.
Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play the game because I like the challenge aspect. Only a select few get a chance to play at this level. I like the daily grind of overcoming challenges. In my mind, I’m already in the NFL. I don’t just want to make it, I want a long, sustainable career.
My family motivates me the most how they have sacrificed so much over the years. They drove me around, were always at my games and pushed me to do my best. I hope to one day give back to them and show my love and appreciation for them.