John Chick Is Ready For His Senior Season
Sept. 29, 2005
Most freshmen entering a collegiate football program are given the opportunity to redshirt their first season on campus. They get to learn the college game, practice at a slower pace and develop physically and mentally before seeing game action a year later.
Utah State defensive end John Chick was not one of those players. Coming into the program in 2002, Chick was not only thrown into the action, he did something no other Aggie had done in nine years - start a season opener as a freshman.
And what a start it was. Chick's first game came against Utah and the former Gillette, Wyo. high schooler had to line up against All-America candidate Jordan Gross.
"The first game I was going against Jordan Gross, who was really being hyped, but I didn't really know anything about him and just went out there and played," Chick recalled of that day. " I think I did pretty good. I had a few tackles, but I definitely got my butt kicked a few times."
Chick's Aggie career opened with a five-tackle performance against the future NFL pro. Things didn't get any easier the next week, as USU met ninth-ranked Nebraska and its All-America candidate and future NFL player Richie Incognito. Once again, Chick performed exceptionally, especially for a freshman in his second game, recording five more tackles.
"John did a good job," said USU defensive line coach Tom McMahon about his opening game performance. "John didn't have the big eyes like a lot of kids have. The next week he went against Richie Incognito from Nebraska, so his first two games were against great linemen and he never batted an eye. John understands that in the world he lives in out there, it doesn't matter who is across from him, the only guy that can beat John is John. You don't see that a lot."
Chick continued to excel as a freshman as he recorded 42 tackles to lead the Aggie linemen. He also tied for the team lead with four sacks en route to sharing the team's freshman of the year honor with Donald Penn and Matt Wiser.
Prior to the start of his sophomore season, Chick broke his thumb and missed the first three games of the year. The Aggie defense did not record a sack in his absence. When he returned, he registered a sack in each of the next four games, providing the pass rush he has been known for at USU. His efforts on the year earned him the team's top sophomore honor.
After two years as a defensive end, Chick moved to linebacker last season. While adjusting to the position, he recorded 40 tackles, including nine for loss and was named the team's hardest hitter, earning the Golden Helmet Award.
This year he is back to having his hand on the ground and he is more comfortable on the defensive line. He said he understood his position change.
"They were necessary changes for our defense," Chick said. " I would have preferred to always be down on the line the whole time, but it was needed for the team." He said he learned from the position change and it has helped make him a better player.
All in all, Chick said he has enjoyed his time at Utah State.
"It has been a great experience," he said. " I have had great personal coaches. I am excited to be where I am right now because of the coaching staff and where the team is at and what conference we are in."
Chick was not recruited by his home state school, but that didn't bother him until his senior year at Campbell County High School
"Growing up I didn't pay much attention to college football, so I never grew up loving the Cowboys," he said of Wyoming's only Division I program. " It bothered me later because it was my state school and especially because we had three guys off my team go on to play college football (one to Air Force and one to Colorado State in addition to Chick) and none of us were recruited by Wyoming."
Helping to ease his occasional home sickness is the fact his younger sister Jessica is on the Aggie volleyball team. With the distance and with John's younger brother playing high school football, his parents don't make it to Logan as much as he would like.
"It is great (having Jessica here)," he said. " I love having family around. I am eight hours away from home and sometimes I get homesick, so it is nice to have family around."
When asked how he would like to be remembered at Utah State, Chick responded, "As one of the hardest workers out there. I don't think talent wise I bring anything special, but with my work ethic I make up a lot of difference."
McMahon already believes in the hard work Chick has put into his Aggie football career.
"The best thing I can say about John is that from a football standpoint, he has so much heart and so much desire and he always competes," McMahon said. " He takes things personal and pushes himself. He knows how to compete against himself. He won't take failure from himself. He pushes himself through injuries. He pushes himself when he is tired. He pushes himself when he is going against someone who is a great player and he rises to the occasion. He has a ton of self pride both on and off the field. He has a lot of pride in his teammates and Utah State and that is where we want all of our kids to head.
"If he has one weakness it is that he doesn't talk much and we would like him to be more vocal at times, but he just lets his production do the talking," McMahon added.
Aggie fans can expect that production to continue through his final year at Utah State as John Chick wraps up an outstanding career wearing Navy Blue.
By Mike Strauss, Utah State Athletic Media Relations