A key player everywhere he’s been, St. Charles North grad Nubin is ready for the NFL

Tyler Nubin has always been a foundational type of football player.

The kind coaches from the youth levels, to St. Charles North High School and then the University of Minnesota wanted to build their teams and defenses around.

“He goes at a different pace and does it in a humble way where he elevates everyone around him,” said St. Charles North head coach Rob Pomazak.

“He’s incredibly mature, and I define maturity as when you do what you have to do because you want to do it,” Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck told the Daily Herald. “The coach sets the blueprint and the builder of the house is the player. He built the whole house. We put down the blueprint for him and he built the house.”

Now Nubin is on the cusp of seeing the dream he shared as a 15-year-old with Pomazak become a reality. The All-American safety for the Golden Gophers and Daily Herald All-Area Fox Valley captain for the state runner-up North Stars in 2018 will be waiting to hear his name called at some point during the three-day NFL Draft that starts with the first round on Thursday night.

Some of the mock drafts regard the 6-foot-1, 199-pound Nubin as the top safety in this year’s class with the possibility of being chosen as early as Friday’s second round. He set the Minnesota career record for interceptions with 13, broke up 24 passes and had 207 tackles.

Nubin, who had postseason surgery on the meniscus in his right knee, called himself “a swiss army knife” during a conversation with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Chris Simms at the NFL Combine because of his ability to adapt to any system and play the pass or run.

“I’m hard-nosed, I’m intelligent, I’m aggressive and I’m intense,” Nubin told Florio and Simms. “I’m always gonna play fast and physical. That’s my game and how I like to play.”

A game that many played a role in developing. It started at home as his dad Rodney played running back and in the secondary at Eastern Michigan and his mom Sherese was a track standout at the school just outside of this year’s draft headquarters in Detroit.

Tyler Nubin was promoted to St. Charles North’s varsity football team late in his freshman season. Daily Herald file photo

“People don’t get somewhere by accident and Tyler didn’t get to where he was by accident,” Fleck said. “His mom and dad played a huge part. He’s always been really good at understanding, to whom much is given, much is expected. He has a gift … and he doesn’t waste his gift.”

Especially because Nubin’s uncle Steve King, who played in the secondary at Michigan with Charles Woodson, was a big influence. Nubin has worn uniform No. 27 and has the number on a necklace and a tattoo in honor of King, who passed away in the summer of 2014 at age 40 from a massive heart attack.

“What set Tyler apart from a very young age was his willingness to put in the work,” Pomazak said. “I’d watch him in middle school and youth league games and he was very talented, but I never thought it would be the end of the rainbow as a potential first- or second-round draft pick.”

Pomazak promoted Nubin to the St. Charles North varsity late in his freshman year. Nubin didn’t see any game action but his sophomore year he started at cornerback and began to envision a big future for himself.

“At 15 he said he wanted to get a Division I scholarship and eventually play in the NFL,” Pomazak said. “Those are some lofty dreams and I said, ‘If you’re gonna dream big it has to be so every decision you make gets you closer and not farther away.’ He took it to heart and still does.”

Nubin’s year-round training, commitment to film study and understanding the game was on full display in his final two seasons at St. Charles North. As a senior he played receiver, wildcat quarterback and was a shutdown cornerback for a team that lost in the Class 7A state championship game to Nazareth and quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who just led Michigan to a national title and is expected to be one of the first players chosen Thursday night.

“As a senior he took two to three steps in his game and completely changed the game,” Pomazak said. “He was the best player on the field.”

Then came a step up to a significantly higher level of football in the Big Ten. Nubin was fortunate when he got to Minnesota to have a mentor in Antonio Winfield Jr., who just finished his fourth year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was an Associated Press first-team All-Pro safety.

“(Winfield is) always aggressive,” Nubin told PFT at the NFL Combine. “He practices his butt off every single day and brings that same intensity to everything he does. I think his film study and the way he’s cognitive and knows what the offense is trying to do to attack him is what makes him such a great player. That’s what I try to emulate in my game as well.”

Pomazak said he believed the NFL was a possibility for Nubin during his sophomore year at Minnesota because of “the vertical rise” that has been a hallmark of his football career. Nubin returned for a fifth year so he could complete his degree and play one last season with his younger brother Jordan, a redshirt sophomore running back.

Fleck believes Tyler Nubin’s energy, competitiveness, love of the game and intelligence compensates for not being a 4.3 guy in the 40-yard dash since “he plays faster than he runs because he’s one step ahead of everybody else. This is a transformational player. He will transform a locker room, a team and himself.”

Fleck caught 179 passes as a Northern Illinois wide receiver from 1999-2003. So what would it be like to go up against a defense featuring Nubin?

“If you’re a wide receiver, you’re gonna get whatever he’s got all game. Period,” said Fleck, who was a star athlete at Kaneland High School. “His motor never stops. His talking never stops. He will be all over you in every way, shape or form. He’ll suffocate you.

“As competitive as he is, if he gets beat, he’ll compliment you. He’ll tell the opposing quarterback ‘that was a great throw’ but will challenge him to do it again. He appreciates great football and knows what it looks like.”

And now Tyler Nubin is on the verge of experiencing what the highest level of football is like.

Minnesota defensive back Tyler Nubin runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine last month in Indianapolis. Associated Press
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