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Illinois O-lineman Could Have Preferred Walk-On with Gophers in Future

12/10/2012, 10:00pm CST
By Chris Monter

Nick Piker is a 6-foot-4 ½, 281-pound senior offensive lineman from Hinsdale (IL) Central.

Nick Piker, a 6-foot-4 ½, 281-pound senior offensive lineman from Hinsdale (IL) Central, attended the Michigan-Minnesota game earlier this year. The two-sport standout is looking at the Gophers among several Midwest schools and recently talked to Gopher Hole about the latest on his recruitment.
Gopher Hole: Have you had a chance to make many college games this year?
Nick Piker: I went up to the Eastern Michigan game and I went to the NIU (Northern Illinois)- Iowa game at the beginning of the season. 
Gopher Hole: Did you get a chance to go to many football camps this past summer?
Nick Piker: No, I actually didn’t. I was busy going around to different colleges during the summer and checking them out. 
Gopher Hole: Do you have any offers right now?
Nick Piker: I don’t have any offers right now. (He received an offer from Georgetown since this interview) I have a few preferred walk-ons and I am getting some interest from some schools. 
Gopher Hole: What schools are you hearing from about being a preferred walk-on?
Nick Piker: Right now, Minnesota is one of them. Bowling Green. Those are the only two that are preferred walk-ons. I am getting interest from some of the MAC schools, like Miami of Ohio and Eastern Michigan. I sent film to California and Arizona, full game film. That is exciting. They said that they would e-mail me back next week once they evaluate it and everything.
Gopher Hole: When did you first start hearing from Minnesota?
Nick Piker: I sent my film around Week 5 of my high school season. Coach (John) Schaekel (Assistant Coordinator of Recruiting Operations) messaged me on Facebook. He said that he got all my stuff and really liked it. He said that I could be a preferred walk-on right now, because of the scholarship situation. He invited me up for the game. It has been good and we have been talking every week.  
Gopher Hole: Is that something that would appeal to you? Minnesota, like a lot of schools, has a lot of kids who were preferred walk-ons in the beginning of their career, but became scholarship players and starters.
Nick Piker: They said that they have a bunch of starters on the O-line right now that were preferred walk-ons when they first came here. I definitely want to play in the Big Ten. It is one of my dreams to play in the Big Ten. I really like the campus and everything, so if I could come here and be a preferred walk-on and work hard and get a scholarship, it would be totally worth it.
Gopher Hole: Does going away from home something that would interest you?
Nick Piker: Yes. I wouldn’t mind being that far from home. It is only a seven-hour drive. It is a straight shot down 94 to get up here, so it is not that bad. I would definitely consider it.  
Gopher Hole: How did your season go this year?
Nick Piker: We were 7-3. We were in second place in the conference and lost in the first round of the playoffs on a real crazy interception. It kind of sucks, but what are you going to do. 
Gopher Hole: What things are you working on now?
Nick Piker: I am going to start lifting again because you don’t really have much time during the high school season to lift. 
Gopher Hole: You are also a shot putter. Is that something you are going to try to do in college?
Nick Piker: It is something that I would be open to trying, but I would really like to play football.  
Gopher Hole: You worked with an Olympian athlete on the shot put. What is that experience like?
Nick Piker: Brian Oldfield (a 1972 Olympian) is a real fun guy. He is eccentric and everything. He knows all the stuff. He was basically the face of the throws back in the day. He knows everything. He just has different ways of getting it across that some people might view as strange, but it is what he did and it worked for him.
Gopher Hole: Have you learned a lot from him?
Nick Piker: Definitely. I started throwing with him my sophomore year and I have definitely gotten a lot better and I understand the throws a lot more now.
Gopher Hole: Did you make it to state last year?
Nick Piker: I actually didn’t. I threw the distance, but I was probably six inches out of bounds. That sucked. I definitely hit the distance and everything, but I was just out of bounds. This year, I am looking going down to state and it should be fun. 
Gopher Hole: How much do you think that helps you in terms of strength and foot work things that help you with football?
Nick Piker: Rotation throwing is really technical, so it helps with your feet. I used to play basketball, too and you have to be somewhat athletic to play basketball. I definitely still carry those things over to football, so it helps out.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought much about a possible college major?
Nick Piker: I thinking about business right now. I’m not sure which one in particular, but I would probably say business as a whole right now. I haven’t narrowed it down. 
Gopher Hole: Have you taken the ACT or SAT yet?
Nick Piker: Yes, I did. I got a 26, so that is OK. I am going to re-take it again in December, I think, just to see if I do a little better. Otherwise, it is OK with me. 
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