Varsity Preps

Big time sleeper?

The term “sleeper” in the football recruiting world refers to someone who is mostly overlooked by programs, but has the potential to be as good as anyone. Prospects fall into the sleeper category for various reasons: perhaps they are recovering from an injury, perhaps their bench max or 40 time isn’t what scouts feel that it should be, or perhaps they attended a small school that coaches and recruiters don’t frequent, or maybe it’s a size issue.

Whatever the reason is that causes a person falls into this category isn’t the important part. The fact that some of these players turn out to be all-conference or All-American players and some eventual NFL Draft picks, is. This leaves coaches everywhere wishing they had given that player a chance.

In the 2014 recruiting cycle, one such player who has been a sleeper up to this point is Elkhorn South (Omaha, Neb.) linebacker Nick McEwin.

“I think I’m close to an offer with a few schools, but I don’t have any offers yet,” McEwin told Varsity Preps.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior-to-be, was an all-conference selection, an all-district selection, and was named 2nd-Team All-State by an independent rankings service in 2012. He was also on the Academic All-State Team.

“The schools I’ve been talking to the most are the University of Ohio, Northern Illinois and Nebraska,” McEwin said. “Another FBS school would be SMU, they’ve talked to me a couple of times, and I’m also hearing from Iowa State and Tulsa.”


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So far this spring, McEwin has attended a junior day at Northern Illinois (April 20) and taken an unofficial visit to North Dakota (Feb. 23). Assistant head coach Barney Cotton from Nebraska and defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow from Ohio both visited his school in April and Tulsa, Penn, South Dakota State, Illinois State, Southeast Missouri State, North Dakota, and North Dakota State have also stopped by.

“I went to the Nike Football Training Camp,” McEwin said. “They invited the Top 160-some players in the Midwest and I competed with all of them. They took the top three from each drill and called it the best of the best. I was chosen as top three for pass rush and top three for pass coverage. I was actually chosen as the best in pass coverage.”

“In agility drills, I didn’t as well as I wanted,” McEwin said. “I got a 4.5 in shuttle, and   on the power ball I got a 34. My vertical jump was like 29 in.”

As a junior, McEwin had 100 tackles (57 unassisted, 43 assisted), five tackles for loss, two sacks, and two pass breakups. At the Army National Combine last summer he did 29 repetitions of 185 pounds on bench press, but has since gotten stronger.

“One thing that I look at a lot is the tradition the school has,” McEwin said. “If a school has a great tradition and a great fan base, a history of winning, and if it’s a known school. I’ve always wanted to go to a historical school.”

McEwin, originally from Mansfield, Texas, hopes to receive more interest from schools from the LoneStarState during his senior year.

“Being a Dallas boy, I liked TCU a lot, SMU, and Texas,” McEwin said. “I’ve heard from SMU, but the other two I haven’t heard from. I feel like the look more at the in-state kids and only go after top-flight out of state kids, but I’d love to hear from TCU and Texas.”

McEwin has largely flown under the radar up until now, but before it’s all said and done, Varsity Preps likes the chances of some school signing a player who is a leader on and off the field, and in the classroom.




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