BUFFALOES’ FOOTBALL: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020
All along, Trey Nuzum has had his hopes and dreams of playing college athletics just like thousands of other high school prospects.
When you’re 6-foot-4-inches tall, and weigh in at 285 pounds, it is readily apparent that football might be the sport of choice. So it is with Nuzum, now a senior at Garden City High School, who also has been playing basketball and competing in track (discus, shot put) for the Buffaloes.
In late June, Nuzum traveled to St. Joseph, MO, where he participated in a one-day, Blue-Grey All-Star combine – The Heartland Super – and began his latest quest to impress college coaches.
During the one-day event, Nuzum, along with a multitude of other prospects of all offensive and defensive positions, participated in a series of drills, including timed events, weights and others. He was electronically timed at 5.01 in the 40-yard dash; leaped 8-feet-2-inches in the standing long jump; bench pressed 18 pounds 26 times in succession (2nd best overall) and then timed highly in a shuttle where a player goes 10 yards downfield, 5 yards back, repeating. Overall, he was voted the top lineman (for both offense/defense) for the day.
He had to wait more than a month to see if that effort would pay dividends and in early August, he received a letter of invitation from the Blue-Grey Football Committee to participate in the January 25, 2021, All-Star Game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, home to the Dallas Cowboys.
“I was really excited when I got the letter,” Nuzum said recently. “They choose players from all over the country, so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Nuzum was chosen to play on the East team, which will consist of players from 22 states, while the West team will be comprised of players from 17 states, according to information sent by the Blue-Grey Committee.
“I think they’ve chosen me more for playing defense,” said Nuzum, who will double as an offensive tackle and defensive tackle this year for the Buffaloes. “I think I’m just more comfortable out there being my senior year and everything feels more natural. I feel quicker and more confident.”
With the season-opening road game on the immediate horizon (Friday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.) at Manhattan, Nuzum said he couldn’t wait to get out on the field and compete.
“It will be interesting to play a new team,” he said of the Indians, who have been one of the elite teams in Class 6A for many years. “They have a K-State commit who I believe I’ll be playing against and I just want to go out and do a good job of blocking him and helping us any way I can.”
Head coach Brian Hill said that Nuzum will play both ways this season, taking an occasional series off to get a breather, but otherwise, he will be on the field for most of the game to help the Buffs.
“I think I’m a good player both ways, but defense is where I really feel the most comfortable,” Nuzum said. “It’s just easier than it’s been. I know my assignments better.”
Hill said the honor of being selected for the prestigious game will go a long way in helping Nuzum with his college recruiting, which has been spotty in part due to the geographic location of Garden City where many college coaches simply don’t find themselves looking at recruits.
“He competed against kids from Kansas and a number of other states in this part of the country,” Hill said of the combine attended by Nuzum. “You have to attend one of these combines to be invited to play in one of the games. He finished among the top three or four in every category which says a lot about the type of athlete he is. He’s worked his tail off in the program and from the start, he’s wanted to play college football.”
Nuzum, who just recently was recognized as an IMPACT player by Kansas Pregame magazine’s preseason publication, will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents. The Buffs will play Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel later in the season as part of a re-organized schedule due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, they face Hutchinson and Ulysses outside of the four WAC schools.
“Trey’s opportunity will give national name recognition to the Garden City community and to our high school,” Hill said.
Nuzum’s recruiting journey is somewhat similar to that experienced by former GCHS All-Stater Demarcus Elliott, who was pretty much ignored coming out of high school. After playing one season at Garden City Community College, Elliott was a late add to the Indiana University Hoosiers team in 2019 and eventually worked his way into a starting position at nose guard and played all 13 games for the Hoosiers including a postseason bowl game.
“The situation with Demarcus should give kids hope,” Hill said. “People are noticing him and the same thing will happen with Trey. Trey’s got a lot of raw talent and he’s got high character, good grades and his work ethic is great. He’ll play both sides of the ball just as Demarcus did. His numbers are comparable to other kids who have been recruited. He’ll be an iron man for us out there.”
Hill said he put Nuzum at the left tackle position because it’s the most important blocking position to protect the back side of the Buffs’ quarterback, who throws right-handed.
“Trey’s really improved his footwork and he was already a strong kid,” Hill said. “The fact that he’s played basketball and throws the discus has enabled him to improve in many areas. The discus has helped his explosiveness in blocking, and attacking on defense.”
The goal for Nuzum, of course, is to have a standout senior campaign, catch the eyes of many college coaches at the D-I level, and then hope to secure a scholarship for the 2021 season. He’ll get an additional opportunity with his selection to the Blue-Grey Game in Dallas in late January.