(P/C: Indiana University Athletics)
Nick Westbrook was a three star recruit out of Lake Mary, Florida. Westbrook committed to Indiana University to continue both his studies and his football career. As a freshman, he saw little playing time, but showed flashes of what was to come, hauling in 6 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown on top of that.
His best season, statistically, came in 2016 as a sophomore where he brought in 54 catches for 995 yards and 6 touchdowns. Westbrook continued to be a consistent option for the Hoosier offense, and was rewarded with an invite to the East/West Shrine Game a few weeks ago, where he was noted as an elite performer in practice.
You’re a great football player, but other than football, what are some of your other hobbies and interests?
Westbrook: I really enjoy movies. I got into them in high school after taking a film class. I want to finish an all time favorite movie list eventually. I have my top 20-ish right now.
What pushes you towards success? Or what motivates you to be your best on and off the football field?
Westbrook: Hard work was instilled in me from a young age. My mom always worked so hard to give me opportunities, whether it was driving me to practices, or 7 on 7 games, she always did everything she could to put me in the situation I’m in now. I want to be able to give back to her. And looking forward, I want to be able to set my future kids up, and have them know I wanted what was best for them before they were here.
As a Big 10 collegiate athlete, you faced some very talented players. Who was the best player you faced and what did he do to try and disrupt you?
Westbrook: My sophomore year I faced Marshon Lattimore. I was having a pretty good season, but he really woke me up, and pushed me to be better. He was really smart, and he had great feet. He didn’t talk trash or anything, but he knew his Ps and Qs and went to work.
From Florida, you went to school in Bloomington, Indiana. What was your journey to being a Hoosier like? Why Indiana?
Westbrook: They were one of the first schools to offer me at the end of my junior year. I took a tour around the country to schools like Boston College, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Indiana really stuck with me, and I took my official visit, and they didn’t disappoint. I am from Florida, but I was born in Minnesota. I have a lot of family in the midwest, and I grew up watching Big 10 football.
As a receiver, you have to do a lot to prepare for games in the film room. What techniques do you look for when studying DBs and what do you do to take what you learned and use it on the football field to give yourself an edge?
Westbrook: I watch as much film as I can on the upcoming opponent. I look for man-to-man tendencies. I start to pick up on which foot they step with first, or which hand they shoot for, and it helps me to break the press, and win matchups.
You got a great opportunity at the East/West game, and you were heavily noted throughout the week for putting together great practices. Describe that experience for me.
Westbrook: It was a great experience. Spending 4 ½ years at a school, you sometimes forget how many other talented players there are across the country. It is awesome to think that you could be playing alongside the next Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo. Those guys there push you hard, and it’s always great to gain more exposure.
You possess great size for the receiver position, and do a great job of using your body to win high versus DBs and in the red zone. However, what do you want to emphasize while training for the NFL Draft these next few months, and how will you do so?
Westbrook: I want to improve my quickness off the ball and my acceleration. I am confident in my deep speed, but that still may be a question mark for scouts, so I want to continue to train for the 40 and impress teams.
The Hoosiers just had their first winning season since 2007. As a Hoosier fan myself and someone who is surrounded by fans of the school, can you fill me in on the culture this year at Indiana as the team won 8 games?
Westbrook: It was great to do what we knew we were supposed to do. Everyone in that locker room had intent to turn the program around, and we made a big step towards doing so.
Thank you for your time, Nick!
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