By Dan Hardenbrook
Engadine Senior Lineman Nick Nance just put the last feather in the cap for his high school football career. Following a final season that saw him achieve great success despite his team’s struggles, Nance will play college football. He signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Madonna University.
Nance, who was a team captain and four-year starter for the Eagles while earning All Great Lakes 8 East Division honors, and Great Lakes 8 All Conference, UPSSA All UP 1st Team, MHSFCA All Region and All State selections, made his announcement in a ceremony at the Engadine Public Library last week.
“I just felt like it was home there,” Nance said. “The coaches talked to me all football season. They told me they wanted me and that really made me want to go there. I also have family that lives down there by campus.”
Nance didn’t need much time to make up his mind once the offer was made. “Once they gave me the offer I knew it was right for me.”
Nick’s biggest supporters are the ones at home. His Mom, Kris, and dad, Scott, have been there every step of the way, and it’s a dream they all shared even if they didn’t think it was always possible. “I would’ve never dreamt this, that he would achieve so much,” said Mom. But she knew one thing was for sure. This was what he’s wanted for a very long time. “He’s wanted it since 6th grade. So driving all those miles and waiting all those hours for practices helped make his dream come true!” While the achievement is beyond anything that she could’ve imagined, deep down, Dad had no doubt he could do it. “He’s put a lot of time and effort into it in the last couple of years. It’s been a dream for me to watch him go on!”
The Madonna University Crusaders are a member of the NAIA and play as part of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. The 2020 season was supposed to be the debut year for the football program but their season was cancelled and moved to the spring of 2021 due to the ongoing issues with Covid-19. The Crusaders are coached by Herb Haygood, who spent time as an assistant on the same staff as Engadine Head Coach Vince Leveille when both were at Saginaw Valley State University. That relationship led to Nance becoming one of Haygood’s first signees since being named Madonna’s coach on December 8th. “He’ll get great coaching at Madonna. I told Herb about him about a year ago. I said ‘you’re gonna want to look at this kid’. I sent him some film and his grades and told him Nick was exactly the type of kid he needs. Leveille believes Nance is ready for the next step. “I think he’ll do fine at the next level. He’s got the size, he’s got the strength, he’s got the attitude. It’s just a matter of getting a little stronger and getting some more coaching and I know he’ll get that down there.”
Nance says that some of his early goals are to get into the weight room and work his way up the roster. He’s hoping to earn a starting spot going into his freshmen year.
Regardless of what happens next, Nance is grateful for what got him here.
“These last four years have been kind of crazy. This last season was crazy. I did not see any of this happening going into this year,” he said. “It’s made me a better person and better prepared for life.”