Former San Diego State offensive lineman Nico Siragusa has remained steadfast in pursuit of an NFL career despite being bit by the injury bug early in the offseason.
Shortly after the Aztecs' dominant win over the University of Houston in the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, Siragusa was invited to the 2017 Reese's Senior Bowl, an all-star game featuring the top seniors in the 2017 draft class. However, he missed a majority of the practice week and the big game after suffering a thumb injury on the first day of practice.
Siragusa, of course, wishes he could have played the entire week in Mobile, Ala., but he has quickly pushed the injury behind him and put all of his efforts into preparing for the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
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Currently training with EXOS in Carlsbad, Calif., Siragusa is working to improve all areas of his game while simultaneously forming relationships with several other offensive line prospects in this year's draft class. He emphasized that football is more than just a game; it's a "brotherhood."
"I love the brotherhood of [football]," Siragusa said. "You learn so many lessons from it that you can take away from it and apply to your life. There are so many benefits of playing football."
Siragusa also confirmed that he will be 100 percent healthy for the combine (Mar. 3-6).
In Indianapolis, Siragusa believes he can separate himself from other offensive linemen entering the 2017 NFL draft due in large part to his excellent athletic ability.
"I'm athletic," Siragusa said. "I may be big, but I still can move well and I can change direction well.""I'm one of the most athletic guards in the class."
In addition to his athleticism, Siragusa approaches the game with the confidence and determination needed to dominate his opponent with great consistency.
"No matter what, I'm going to beat the guy in front of me," Siragusa said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to beat him because I want to win."
Siragusa is also more than willing to do whatever it takes to see the field at the next level, even if he is asked to switch positions.
With the Aztecs, Siragusa settled into the left guard position for his final two years at SDSU after spending some time at right guard during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He played in 54 career games in the trenches with SDSU, tying with right tackle Daniel Brunskill and running back Donnel Pumphrey for the most in school history.
"I could see myself staying on the interior, but I'll play whatever they want me to play," Siragusa said. "If they want me to play center, I'll learn to snap. If they need me to play right tackle, I'll play right tackle as long as it helps the team win."
With Siragusa's departure, it's fair to expect a drop in production along SDSU's offensive line in 2017.
However, Siragusa emphasized that the Aztecs' current slew of offensive linemen is not without some future stars.
Siragusa highlighted both Tyler Roemer and Keith Ismael as two soon-to-be sophomores set to exceed expectations next season. Both Roemer and Ismael joined the Aztecs as two-star recruits (Scout, Rivals) in 2016.
While Roemer and Ismael work to fill his shoes on the Mesa, Siragusa will continue to improve his draft stock en route to stepping into a new pair of shoes in the NFL.