NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When junior middle linebacker Nick Thrasher arrived on campus in 2011 he had no idea how prestigious of a career his head coach had at the same position over 20 years ago. Two years later he’s well aware.
Now, Thrasher is out to break coach Rod Reed’s career records.
“At first I didn’t know about (Coach Reed’s pedigree) but when I got here everybody tells you about all coach’s records here for the most tackles here at TSU,” Thrasher said about his head coach. “I’m still trying to beat that record, and I’m going to beat that record.”
The record Thrasher is referring to is Reed’s 406 tackles during his career from 1985-88. Reed, one of the most decorated athletes at Tennessee State not only holds the record for tackles in a career, he holds many tackle marks in the record books. TSU’s head man had the best and eighth best seasons in terms of tackles, as well as the sixth and tenth best mark in solo tackles in a year, during his illustrious playing career.
Thrasher has a number of accolades himself, with the first one being the starting middle linebacker of the best defense in FCS. The junior lead the team in tackles a year ago with 105 tackles to earn second team All-OVC honors. His superb sophomore season also made him a pre-season All-OVC selection this past summer.
Halfway into his junior season Thrasher has picked up 163 tackles. Now, the Morrow, Georgia native sits a good distance away from Reed’s school record, but he’s still trying to emulate the qualities of Tennessee State’s head man.
“Coming out of high school I just had a nose for the football, and then when I got to college (coach Reed) taught me how to read the keys right and watch what the offense does because the offense tells it all,” said Thrasher about his mentor. “When I get out of classes I’m always in coach Reed’s office watching film and looking at what the offense does.”
The two spend so much time together they often give each other a hard time when it comes to their on-field accolades.
“I call him the luckiest linebacker in America,” Reed said with Thrasher laughing in the background. “Cause he always seems to be falling in on the tackles or right around the ball a lot of stuff falls in his lap.”
Reed’s relationship allows for the sarcasm but the head man knows that the work his linebacker puts in makes him the player he has become today.
“When things like that fall in your lap I’ll tell you why, it’s because you’re reading the keys and you know where the play is going to be and you always end up in the right spot.”
The lunch pail attitude Thrasher brings to the table leaves Reed seeing a lot of similarities between himself and the leader of the 2013 Big Blue defense.
”I like his intensity, I like the way he practices,” said Reed. “I think the biggest thing you can compare him to me is film study. He loves to study film he comes in when other players are doing different things. He’s always somewhere studying film.”
For Thrasher he gives all the credit to his coach and mentor.
“He’s teaching me what he did back then, and helping make me a successful middle linebacker.”