Toughness is one of the most overused traits that fans,writers, and talking heads use when discussing various football players. To be able to endure the physical and emotional toll that playing football- especially at the D1 level- a player must be tough. So what does it say when NFL.com tabs you the toughest player in all of college football? It means offensive lineman should start sweating when they line up across from Nate Terhune.
Besides being the baddest player in all of college football Terhune is not only one heck of a nose tackle but just a great all-around footballer. After redshirting his true freshman year in 2011 he played in all 14 games of the 2012 campaign proving valuable on special teams.
Terhune's sophomore season is where the toughness legend was born. On September 14th against LSU, Terhune suffered a broken left leg down by the ankle. He would have metal pins and plates inserted during surgery to repair the leg and during his four week rehab he declined to take any painkillers because that would not allow him to lift weights, he returned to action four weeks later against Ball State, against anyone's expectations, As if his season couldn't get anymore impressive he capped it off with a 61 yard fake punt run to a touchdown. The first in his career.
The 6-4, 270 pound beast followed up his breakout sophomore season with a junior year where he started all 11 games (thanks Buffalo blizzard) and showed his versatility at both the nose and defensive tackle. He ended up with 3.5 sacks and 6.0 TFLs. He was an anchor on a defensive line that as a group wasn't very disruptive as it ranked just 123rd in Adj. Sack Rate and 116th in Stuff Rate according to SB Nation's own Bill Connelly.
Heading into 2015 the fifth year senior was named to both Athlon and Phil Steele's Preseason All-MAC Fourth Team. In the spring he also earned the Gerald and Victoria Read Award for displaying hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty. Kent will need Terhune to rise above and beyond this year and get the defensive line to be more disruptive and make plays. The Golden Flashes have one of the best linebacking cores in the MAC but if Terhune can't swallow up offensive lineman to free up the backers it won't matter how skilled they are. It all starts up front and if Terhune can't inspire his teammates with his displays of toughness it could be another long year for the Kent defense.