John Denton's Knights Insider: Adam Nissley Too Big to Ignore

Aug. 26, 2010

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - It was only natural last spring when the NFL's Combine was underway for UCF's Adam Nissley to look at the comparables with other tight ends and dream about the possibilities.

Because when it comes to raw physical talents, the possibilities seem utterly endless for Nissley.

Quite frankly, no athlete at UCF possesses the same physical gifts as the junior tight end from Cumming, Ga. At 6-foot-6 and 266 pounds, Nissley has the size to both block and be a humongous target in the passing game. And with 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash, he has the agility and quickness to get separation away from linebackers.

And then there's Nissley's power that sets him apart from most tight ends. His bench press maxes out at 520 pounds and he can do the pro bench of 225 pounds an impressive 35 times. He power cleans 350 pounds and his squat is better than 550 pounds, making him a force when pounding on defensive ends while blocking.

Those physical gifts allow him to think about not only one day being a NFL prospect, but also how good he can be this season for UCF. Again, the possibilities seem endless for a player with his rare combination of speed, size and power.

``Coming up draft time last spring, I did a lot of the comparisons and I would think about (the NFL). But I still have this season and another season here to get better,'' Nissley admitted. ``I just want to keep doing my job here and hopefully keep getting better and better and see what happens.''

One thing that Nissley hopes happens this season is him getting much more involved in the passing game. He caught 10 passes for 159 yards last season, most of them coming in the second part of the season after he took over the role full-time after splitting snaps with Corey Rabazinski.

``When Corey went down (with an injury) I had to take over. I probably relied on Corey a little too much because he was a great football player,'' Nissley said. ``I had to step up and play the whole game and get better.

``I'm working hard in camp, I've caught some balls and I'm trying to get more involved in the passing game,'' Nissley continued. ``They say I'm a blocker first, but anytime I can go out and catch some balls I'm happy to do that. Never bad to get a little glory in there, too.''

Despite his wishes to catch more balls, Nissley has the mindset (and the size and strength) of an offensive lineman. After all, he filled in at tackle for six games as a freshman in 2008 when injuries hit the team. And when he lines up on the right side, he gives the Knights an imposing side with guard Nick Pieschel (6-7, 301), Jah Reid (6-7, 324) and himself (6-6, 266).

``Adam does a good job of catching balls, but he understands that his first job is to be a blocker for us,'' UCF offensive line coach Brent Key said. ``He's very close with those guys on the offensive line and he's kind of an extension of the line, really. He knows that blocking comes first because we want to run the football here. He's a big part of what we want to do running the ball on the outside.''

UCF head coach George O'Leary has said repeatedly that he wants more nastiness and athleticism along the offensive line this season, and Nissley certainly provides both factors. The promotion of Chris Martin to left tackle and Pieschel's move to right guard gives the Knights a group that has tremendous size and the ability to move around on the perimeter.

Nissley knows that his mentality will always be that of a lineman first and a tight end second.

``I like to jump into the trenches and bang some heads. I've been there (on the offensive line) and know what that job entails. I have a little bit of `hog' mentality, I guess you could say,'' Nissley said with a chuckle. ``I really feel comfortable with Jah because there's a lot of experience there with him and I. We get over there, there's not a lot of guessing or thinking. We know what each other is going to do and we like to really get after some people.''

And Nissley is confident that UCF is going to get after foes this season. He said there's an air of confidence coursing throughout the team that this season could be a truly special one for the Knights. Based on the returning talent, the experience level and a favorable schedule, Nissley said he can envision the Knights potentially winning the Conference USA championship and cracking the Top 25 for the first time in school history.

``We all feel like there's a great opportunity ahead of us to do something not many teams here have had the chance to do,'' he said. ``We do everything right, we could go undefeated or maybe have a one-loss season. We feel like we have what it takes to have a championship season and go to a great bowl games. But we can't think that it's just going to fall into place. We have to keep putting in the work and make it happen.''


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.