BOCA RATON – FAU’s current sack leader knows firsthand what an opposing quarterback feels like when the Owls’ all-time sack leader drives him to the ground.
Near the end of fall camp, in front of the entire team, coach Charlie Partridge asked Haiden Nagel, along with defensive backs Anthony Hamilton and Alfred Ansley – all three walk-ons – to stand in front of the the entire team and sing the FAU fight song.
The trio only managed to get a few lines into the song before Partridge displayed a surprise message on the screen behind them – a message that the rest of the team, but not Nagel, Hamilton and Ansley, could see. The three singers had earned a scholarship for this season.
The room erupted – and Nagel didn’t know why.
“I got tackled by Trey [Hendrickson],” Nagel said. “I had no idea what was going on. He just went boom. I was like what’s going on? He was like, look at the board. And I looked and I was like, ohhh yeah!!!”
Nagel sports a huge grin while telling the story, even while admitting that Hendrickson got him pretty good with the free shot.
“I felt like a quarterback at that point,” Nagel said. “He hit me pretty hard.”
Two games into the season, Nagel is proving that he deserved the scholarship. He beat out incumbent Hunter Snyder and Nick Internicola to earn the starting spot on the opposite side of the line from Hendrickson, and is currently sixth among Owls with nine tackles.
His modest one sack is one-half more than Hendrickson or any other defensive lineman, and is enough to tie linebacker Rashad Smith for the team lead.
Early this week, as he was leaving the room following his stint with the media, Hendrickson, who set the FAU record last season with 13.5 sacks, referred to Nagel with a relatively new moniker: “sack leader.”
“He calls me that ever since the first week,” Nagel said. “He’s been calling me that and I think it’s hilarious. I’m going to try to stay there because teams are looking to double and triple team Trey, so it’s up to me and the D-tackles or whoever is at the D-end spot to get to the quarterback.”
Nagel’s sack, which came in the season-opener against Southern Illinois, wasn’t his first. In 2014 he started six games as a redshirt freshman, recording two sacks.
He didn’t get a sack last season, recording only six tackles as a redshirt sophomore, but enjoyed a revival in the spring that carried over into fall camp, ultimately earning Nagel his scholarship – and a sack from FAU’s career-leader that he’ll likely never forget.
“That was awesome,” Nagel said. “That was a great feeling. It was great for my family and it was very emotional for me at that time.”