Nate Bussey Story
Under the Radar: Nate Bussey Illinois
by Jason_Madson on Apr 10, 2011 9:00 AM EDT in 2011 NFL Draft
L.G. Patterson - APMore photos ».
When you think of the perfect player to fill out a team's roster, what traits should he have? Versatility, willingness to play special teams and an individual that embarrass you off the field are just a few that come to mind. Being a good football player doesn't hurt either. These qualities are what NFL teams want in their players, from number 1 to 53. I had the opportunity to speak with Nate Bussey recently and he fits all these categories and more.
Growing up in Washington DC, Nate began playing football at the age of 5. He was an accomplished quarterback in high school, even grabbing an offer from Kent State to play the QB position. The first offer he received though, was from the University of Illinois in the 10th grade. I guess we can say that Nate is loyal as well. "One of the biggest reasons I went to Illinois was Mike Locksley". Locksley is known as a great recruiter and this seems to justify that.
Nate came into Illinois with a new position, defensive back. He made the switch because that is what the coaches wanted him to do. You will hear that a lot with Nate. As a true freshman, Nate played on special teams and made a great impact. His love of playing special teams goes back to this, getting on the field. His sophomore season led to him being a starter in the defensive backfield.
His junior season, when 2 linebackers were injured, the coaches asked if Nate would make the switch to LB. What do you think Nate said? "Whatever you need me to do coach, I'll do it"
After two successful seasons as a linebacker with the Illini, Nate is now realizing his versatility and willingness to do whatever the coaches ask is about to pay off.
The San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears want Nate to play SS, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers are looking at him in the outside linebacker position. "Whatever opportunity comes my way, I'll be happy" said Nate after the long discussion about where he fits in on the football field. He explained his strengths on the football field as open field tackling "It would definitely be tackling in the open field, I have the skill set to make a lot of open field tackles" and pass coverage skills "I had to check a lot of receivers this year playing outside linebacker, I had to work on my man to man coverage skills" he also told me that he didn't blitz very much at Illinois, but given an opportunity, he could improve those skills as well.
Giving back to the community is also a big part of Nate's life. "being a leader in the community is very important to me" He works with the Boys & Girls Club in Illinois in his free time and also mentors children when he goes back to Washington DC. Nate also has a 2 year old daughter who he tends to 24/7.
When asked what he has learned from this experience, Nate said 'Be patient, my time will come" that is some great advice that more people need to follow.
Height / Weight:
6-2 / 220
2009: Played in all 12 games and started at linebacker in the final five games ... Posted five tackles against Fresno State ... Had five tackles at No. 5 Cincinnati ...Recorded seven tackles, including a career-best tying five solo stops against Northwestern ... Posted five tackles and first career sack in win over Minnesota ... Recorded five tackles in win over Michigan ... Posted a season-best six tackles at Purdue, including a career-best tying five solo stops ... Had two tackles and forced a fumble on a kickoff at Indiana ... Recorded three tackles vs. Michigan State ... Played against Penn State, but did not record any statistics ... Had one tackle at Ohio State ... Posted two tackles against Illinois State ... Played first game at linebacker in the season opener against Missouri, recording one tackle.
2008: Played in all 12 games and started the season opener ... Posted one tackle in the season finale at Northwestern ... Had two tackles against Western Michigan ... Recorded four tackles and a PBU against Indiana ... Had five tackles, including three solos, against Eastern Illinois ... Recorded a career-high eight tackles, including five solos, against Missouri ... Also recorded his first career PBU against Missouri.
2007: Played in all 13 games primarily on special teams ... Recorded nine tackles, including five solos ... Recorded a career-high two tackles in his first career game against Missouri ... Also recorded stops against Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Northwestern.
High School: Named a top-20 recruit in the Mid-Atlantic region by SuperPrep ... Played quarterback and safety at Dunbar High School, as well as returning kicks ... First-team All-Met by The Washington Post in 2006 ... Top-five player in the Washington, D.C. area by Rivals.com ... Totaled over 8,000 passing yards for his career and a QB rating of 102.7 ... Defensively, he recorded six interceptions, two returned for touchdowns ... Threw for 2,473 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2006 as well as rushing for a team-high 553 yards and 12 touchdowns ... At safety, recorded four interceptions as a senior ... Passed for 2,543 yards and threw 37 touchdowns, while also running for over 700 yards as a junior ... Quarterbacked Dunbar High School to three consecutive Turkey Bowl titles ... Earned honorable mention All-Met honors by The Washington Post in 2005 ... High school teammate of current Illini cornerback Vontae Davis and wide receiver Arrelious Benn.
Personal: Full name is Nathan Lee Bussey ... Born Feb. 20, 1989 ... Son of Linda Bussey ... Majoring in communication ... Chose Illinois over Louisville, Colorado, Syracuse and UCLA.
Tackles: 8 vs. Missouri, 8/30/08
Solos: 5, four times (last vs. Northwestern, 11/14/09)
Sacks: 0.5 at Minnesota, 11/7/09
PBU: 1, three times (last time at Purdue, 10/24/08)
Forced Fumble: 1 at Indiana, 10/17/09
Thanks Cheramie. I was looking for some information on this pick.
No problem Ice and I like the fact that he played with Martez.
You've got to love the versatility and the team first type attitude. I don't know anything about him but it sounds like a good pick.
Besides getting a backup DT, this has shaped out to be a fantastic draft for us in my book.
Saints selected Illinois LB Nate Bussey with the No. 243 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Bussey must have flashed on tape when the Saints were scouting third-round teammate Martez Wilson. Bussey didn't break into the starting lineup until his senior season, but he showed explosive sideline-to-sideline pursuit with good coverage ability. Just 215 pounds, he'll start his career on special teams.
Apr 30, 7:00 PM
He certainly sounds like a team player and we know how much coach Payton values that. We could really use some leadership on special teams.
Sounds like he's playing safety for us.
This guy is going to play every where for us... Take over old Merkins position, lol.
Wow see I have no idea how the heck we got these players. They should not have been or the board when we cam up to pick.
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