Former Trojan Nate Wozniak Is Pursuing NFL Career
Writer / Seth Johnson
This NFL season, Nate Wozniak hopes to lace up his cleats alongside Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and the rest of the New Orleans Saints. Long before his days in an NFL training camp, however, Wozniak played football at Center Grove.
“I first started playing when I was in the fourth grade, and I actually first played for the CYO league because at that time I was going to Our Lady of the Greenwood School,” Wozniak says. “So that was my first real football experience. My little brother (Drew) actually played up on our team too, so that was pretty cool.”
Signed by the Saints after going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, Wozniak played football at the University of Minnesota prior to embarking on his professional football journey. At Minnesota, he played tight end, although his primary focus has always been on blocking.
“I think the No. 1 experience that’s helped me throughout my career is just that I’ve always been more of a blocking tight end than a receiving tight end,” Wozniak says. “I was always told by my coaches, even from high school, ‘Listen, you’re going to have to be able to block first if you want to play tight end.’”
This upbringing will come in handy as Wozniak shifts from playing tight end to offensive tackle with the Saints. A former player at Center Grove High School, he’s prepared all his life to reach this point in the NFL.
Following his time in the CYO league, Wozniak moved on to play for the Junior Trojans through the Center Grove Bantam Football League. Although it was many years ago, he still looks back very fondly on his time with that team.
He then moved on to play middle school football with Center Grove North, before eventually playing under Coach Eric Moore at Center Grove High School. To this day, Wozniak still credits Moore with pushing him to pursue an NFL career.
“I think he helped me steer the direction of where I wanted to go and how far I really wanted to go with football,” Wozniak says. “I remember him one day saying, ‘When you’re older, what do you want to do?’ He was like, ‘Your answer should be I want to play in the NFL because you’re capable of it.’ That was a direct quote from him that I remember.”
This boost of confidence has stuck with Wozniak since moving on from Center Grove High School.
“He’s been doing it a long time,” Wozniak says. “He’s seen a lot of great players, so I’ve been fortunate to have him see that in me and help me get to the level I’m at now.”
“He’s helped me throughout the process and spoken with me on some other experiences of players he’s had — how it’s worked out for them and how he thinks it could work out with me,” Wozniak says. “He’s been great and has just been steering me in the right direction.”
Although parts of his NFL experience have been surreal so far, Wozniak has continued keeping his cool while remaining confident in the set of skills he’s gained over the years.
“Once you go into OTA’s and you see some of these vets who are just the best of the best, it’s kind of surreal,” he says “But at the same time, you’re here for a reason. They brought you in for a reason, and they think that you could be a pretty decent player as well.”
With this being said, he believes Head Coach Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints organization will give him the opportunity to prove himself.
“With a team like the Saints, they don’t care where you stand,” he says. “They don’t care if you were drafted in the fourth round or if you were the absolute last free agent signed. They’re going to give everyone an equal shot to be able to beat a person out for a job.”