Hard-working Hen DE Nassib aims to shine like his NFL brothers

John Nassib has made some plays as a backup during his first two seasons. He’s been in on 16 tackles with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven pass deflections. But coach Dave Brock thinks the youngster is poised to have an even bigger impact after a couple years in the program.  (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

John Nassib has made some plays as a backup during his first two seasons. He’s been in on 16 tackles with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven pass deflections. But coach Dave Brock thinks the youngster is poised to have an even bigger impact after a couple years in the program. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — John Nassib’s explanation of how his brother, Carl, went from a Penn State walk-on to an NFL third-round draft pick is pretty succinct.
“He got mad,” said John, a junior defensive end at Delaware.

“He wanted to play in the NFL and he was told he couldn’t play at the school he was at. So he got mad at that, worked, got big and he is where he is now.”

Where Carl Nassib is now is a member of the Cleveland Browns after blossoming into an All-American as a senior at Penn State.

The Blue Hens would love it if the same kind of thing happened with John.

Now a 6-foot-7, 260-pound junior, the younger Nassib is penciled in as the starting right defensive end after playing in 23 games over the last two seasons.

There’s no question that football is in Nassib’s DNA.

Not only is Carl with the Browns but another brother, Ryan, is a backup quarterback with the New York Giants. And their father, Gil, was a tight end on Delaware’s NCAA Division II national championship team in 1979.

“John, he’s a fierce competitor,” coach Dave Brock said after the Hens held their first preseason scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. “Football is in his blood.

“He’s a tireless worker, he’s a selfless kid. He just works every day and doesn’t say much. I think his teammates really count on him. They know they’re going to get a day’s work out of him every day. He’s a blue-collar guy.”

Nassib has made some plays as a backup during his first two seasons. He’s been in on 16 tackles with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven pass deflections.

But Brock thinks the youngster is poised to have an even bigger impact after a couple years in the program.

“I really think, with all the players that are around him now, I think you’re going to see his production really go up,” said Brock. “There’s going to be a lot more things forced to him where he’ll have opportunities. I’m excited for him. He epitomizes what we want.”

Nassib knows there’s a lot to be said for really knowing what you’re doing out on the field. He said he definitely feels more prepared going into this season.

“I feel like I know the defense,” said Nassib. “I feel like I understand why we do certain things. That definitely helps. It’s a lot easier when you know your job.”

In other ways, though, Nassib wishes he could slow down his career a little bit. He doesn’t like being a junior already.

“It’s going by too fast,” he said.

“I try to work as hard as I can all the time so I don’t really have any regrets,” Nassib added. “I know when you’re done, you don’t want to look back and think about what you could have done.”

Passing thoughts

Only time will tell if the Hens’ struggling passing game has improved this fall.

There were plenty of ups and downs for all of the Hens’ quarterbacks in Saturday’s scrimmage.

But starting QB Joe Walker said he definitely thinks he’s made improvements since last season when he was a first-time starter.

“It’s just the chemistry,” he said. “As everything slows down, everything seems easier. … I just feel that the game slows way down for me year by year. I just have more knowledge of the game.”

“He’s being more consistent,” said wide receiver Diante Cherry. “He’s controlling the offense. He’s more assertive. He has confidence in himself and he has confidence in us. We trust him, he trusts us now. That comes with us improving and him improving.”

Big man on campus

Newcomer Charles Scarff continues to be an intriguing new offensive weapon in the preseason.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound receiver, who transferred from Rutgers just before the start of camp, certainly didn’t catch everything thrown his way on Saturday. But he had his moments.

On the last drive of the session, he pulled in a short pass over the middle and then gained about 20 more yards to set up a scrimmage-ending field goal.

“We all really like Scarff,” said Walker. “He’s tall, a big body, nice hands. It’s good to see a guy like that … he hasn’t been here very long and he makes plays like that.”

“He’s a big guy,” Scarff said with a laugh. “I’m impressed. He just came in the first week and he’s learning the playbook really well. He’s making an impact. I’m glad to have him here on our side.”

Extra points

A handful of key players were kept out of Saturday’s scrimmage because of minor injuries. That included wide receiver Jamie Jarmon, who’s had a good camp so far. “He’s a different player,” Brock said about the Indian River High grad. “He’s done fantastic things.” … Delaware got a touchdown on Saturday when Cherry took in a screen pass and threw a 40-yard strike back to running back Jalen Randolph. … Wes Hills also scored a pair of touchdowns out of the wildcat formation on Saturday. … The Hens will hold their inaugural Kids Day Clinic inside Delaware Field House today at noon followed by Media/Photo Day inside Delaware Stadium at 4:45 p.m.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.