Last season, Shippensburg University defensive end Richard Nase terrorized opposing offenses and was a one-man wrecking crew as a member of the SU football team defense.
This season, Nase is expected to pick up right where he left off. Nase was named to four Division II football preseason All-American teams, including The Sporting News, Lindy’s Sports, D2football.com and Hero Sports All-American preseason teams.
In 2015, Nase exploded onto the scene, registering 51 tackles—16.5 of those tackles for a loss—as well as 12 sacks. As a true-freshman, Nase broke the SU record for sacks in a single season. Nase was also named to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division First Team, becoming the first rookie to do so in the last 20 years.
“It was great,” Nase said of breaking the sack record. “It was a really awesome experience, but I owe that to my teammates and all the people who helped me get here. I mean I really couldn’t do it without them. They really pushed me. Everyday I am working hard because I know my brothers are working hard and I don’t want to let them down.”
Even with the success, Nase is committed to coming back even better this season.
“My size and my speed I have definitely improved on a lot,” Nase said. “I realize that many people may think I am undersized. I have worked on that a lot as well as my technique and my pass rushing skill. I can always improve in that and there’s always something to improve on everyday.”
Coach Mark “Mac” Maciejewski spoke highly of his defensive end and the amount of effort that he puts in.
“Expectations are high for everyone including Richard Nase,” Maciejewski told The Slate in an earlier interview.
“Again, you have to put the hard work in, you have to understand the defense and continue to climb that ladder. We expect him to get better everyday just like everybody else. One thing he has is that he gives 100 percent effort. He’s got a great motor on him and he’s going to go hard every play. You can count on Richard going hard every single play that he’s in there and that’s the special part of it.”
On the offensive side of the ball, starting quarterback Ryan Zapoticky spoke of how Nase impacts his development on offense.
“He’s tough, especially on the zone-reads,” Zapoticky said. “He makes it a tough job for the quarterback because he is so quick and versatile. He’s just a tough guy to play against and game plan against.”
Nase hopes to impact the team in a bigger way during the 2016 season. Nase has stated that this season, the bar is set extremely high.
“It’s high, the bar is always going to be extremely high. I like to shoot for the stars,” Nase said. “I don’t want to give an exact number but I plan on breaking the record again.”
Nase, in his second season at SU, has what it takes to be a leader on the gridiron. The defense as a whole returns nine of its eleven starters from last season. The sky is the limit for what the Red Raiders can do defensively.
One thing is for sure; opposing quarterbacks are going to have headaches.
For SU, the season opens Sept. 3 against American International College. The Red Raiders will play their first home game of the season at Seth Grove Stadium Sept. 10 against PSAC-foe Gannon University.