Never stop working. Never give up. Keep the dream alive.
These are the words of former Nebraska Danger DB Nathan Holley, whose perseverance has earned him a roster spot in training camp with the L.A Rams.
A former standout safety at Kent State University, Holley was a two-time All-Mid American Conference First Selection and his 426 career tackles were the most by a Kent State player since 1993. Going into his senior season, Holley was viewed as one of the top safeties in the country. Looking like a mid-round draft pick, Holley ran into issues during his senior season and ultimately his name was not called on Draft night.
However, like many players, Holley's journey did not end there.
Holley impressed several teams in the post-draft days but still went unsigned. Soon, he got a call from the L.A Rams. The Rams invited him for a tryout and were impressed but could not sign him at the time. Holley's luck would later change.
"I later had a tryout with Sasketchewan (CFL) but they didn't sign me. I soon got a call from the Nebraska Danger," said Holley. "The Danger was a great opportunity to get my feet wet, coming off a tryout with the LA Rams. I arrived on a Tuesday, had my first practice on Wednesday and had my first game on a Saturday."
Holley's first game with the Danger was a narrow 45-40 loss to the Arizona Rattlers, but the former Kent State DB made a strong impact all over the field. Holley totaled a team-leading 10 tackles in his debut.
"The quickness of the game was surprising," said Holley. "Things happen quicker. People are quick in and out of their breaks."
The next week, Holley followed up his debut performance with Danger with an even stronger showing against the Cedar Rapids Titans. Holley was all over the field as he tallied 13 tackles, a forced fumble and a half tackle for loss in the matchup.
"The biggest difference is getting your surface footing right", stated Holley. "Indoor football allowed me to get in good position. I had to get used to the closeness of the field, but I realized they couldn't run away from me."
Less than a week after the game vs the Titans, Holley received a call from the Rams. The team wanted to sign him and bring him in for OTAs and mini-camp.
Now in training camp, Holley has a new goal.
"I have the expectation to make the 53 man roster and I am pretty happy with my performance so far."
It has been a long, difficult road but Holley was determined to do one thing:
"Keep the dream alive. Many people ask is this ever going to happen but you have to stay faithful. Keep working and never get complacent."