Becoming the newest bear

Senior Nick Nielsen commits to Missouri State University on full-ride scholarship


Nick Nielsen proudly signs to Missouri State University. Courtesy of StuCo.

“Congratulations! I’m thrilled to offer you admission to West Texas A&M on a full ride sports scholarship!”

He was in shock. “This is really happening. I really have a chance to play college football,” he thought to himself.

That’s when all the offers from different colleges started trickling in. West Texas A&M. University of Texas at Permian Basin. Yale. Georgetown. Missouri State. All interested in him.

After debating on which college was the best for him, senior Nick Nielsen has finally come to a decision. Nielsen has committed to Missouri State to pursue his dreams of majoring in kinesiology and physical therapy.

“Missouri State was my best choice,” Nielsen said. “I chose [kinesiology and physical therapy as my majors] because I’ve always been interested in the body and how it works. I want to help people for a living so helping people by fixing their bodies is something that just fit for me.”

After enjoying his last year on the football team, his teammates and friends are equally as excited for him to play for Missouri State. Senior Jeremy Jones admires Nielsen for being hardworking and dedicated.

“I’m proud of him getting into colleges for football because I know that it’s something that he wanted to do,” Jones said. “He never gives up and always continues to work [towards his dreams].”

Because full-ride scholarships are so scarce, colleges are very selective about which players they make offers to. Despite the high competitiveness of receiving a scholarship, Nielsen has proved his dedication to football and has seen it pay off.

“They look for football players that work hard, have a good attitude and are built for their certain position that they play in high school,” Nielsen said. “Coaches look for players that will make their team better.”

Nielsen has certainly made an impact on his team while playing as a left tackle, spreading his contagious work ethic to his teammates. His coaches and peers are confident that he’ll continue to influence others after graduation.

“[He has the] ability to overcome obstacles and to fight through adversity when things [don’t] go his way or when he [has] some things he [has] to battle through, he [does] that with a ‘team-first’ mindset,” head football coach Michael Odle said. “It’s a trait that’s going to take him far in life.”

It’s not about how talented you are or how many offers you have, it’s about striving to make yourself better for the team and for you.

— senior Nick Nielsen

For many players, football is an escape from the stresses of daily life. Not only can the sport be very relieving for players, there are many valuable life lessons that can be learned on the field.

“Football helps us cope with life,” Odle said. “It teaches us how to win and how to lose. It teaches us how to persevere. It teaches us how to overcome. It teaches us so many lessons and it teaches us how to be a team, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Nielsen has proven that with enough dedication and a great work ethic, success can be achieved. He is always looking to improve himself and is overjoyed his hard work paid off in the end.

“The harder you work, the harder you push yourself and the harder the work is, the better you [become],” Nielsen said. “You have to put in the work to get results. Something my old coaches used to say was ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ It’s not about how talented you are or how many offers you have, it’s about striving to make yourself better for the team and for you.”