October 24, 2011

Black Knights have high interest in 3-star DT

If there is one position that the Army staff hopes their recruiting efforts will begin to pay major dividends, it would most likely be defensive tackle.

The need to add 3-4 talented tackles/nose guards to the 2012 recruiting class who offer a combination of size and explosiveness would be just what the doctor order and what the Black Knights fans are hoping for.

One such player on the radar screen is Niko Padilla our of the Lone Star state, where the Dallas native attends Parish Episcopal School.

It doesn't matter if the 3-star defensive lineman is lined up on the inside or outside, he plays with the same relentless drive that mirrors that of his football idol, former Minnesota Viking great, John Randle.

"I like John Randle ... he's my favorite of all time," says Padilla, who explains why the former Viking is his football favorite. "Just because he's like the same size as me. I like his style of play, his love for the game and his passion because that's the way I approach the game."

"Actually I got to meet him a few months ago ... it was crazy. One of my friends invited me to this golf tourney and John Randle was there. I freaked out when I saw him. He was sitting a couple of tables away from us and took a picture with."Just like Randle's NFL reputation and style, Padilla believes that his play truly does mirror that Mr. Randle. "I'm very explosive off the line, use my hands a lot and I just try to make disruption in the backfield as much as possible," claims Padilla. "I play both ways, so I don't really come off the field at all. I'm all about getting down in the middle of interior of the defensive line and exploding off ... causing havoc in the backfield."

Along with the Black Knights, Padilla has offers from Air Force, Yale, Central Arkansas along receiving an offer from Navy last month.

So does Padilla have a preference when it comes to ranking one school over another at this point in his recruiting process?

"I am completely open to all my offers right now," he declares, as he plans on taking a more deliberate approach to his decision making process. "I'm not going to jump to any commitments anytime soon. I definitely want to think all of this out."

Padilla already has one college visit under his belt, but is starting to compile a list of schools that he plans on seeing up-close and personal.

"I visited Yale during the spring for an unofficial visit and will take an official visit there."

"I will be taking an official visit to Army as well," says Padilla, who has personal ties with West Point, because of his relationship with current Black Knights' offensive lineman, Rob Bickel. "One of my friends goes to Army right now and he told me definitely take a visit up there. He's from our school and he graduated two years ago. I never played with him in high school, but I am friends with him."

Padilla's recruiting at Army is being handled by the Black Knights' veteran defensive line coach, John Mumford. "I speak to coach (Mumford) a lot and he called a couple of days ago ... I spoke to him for a little bit, but I was doing a project and couldn't speak too long."

Padilla and his teammates at Parish Episcopal School are currently 7-1 and just came off a win against Tyler Gray. And there is some method to the madness of the 4A (private school) and it fits well with Padilla's temperament. "Our style of play is to pound our opponents and we just keep going and going and going," he shared. "Our coach has us in such great shape that we just don't every really run out of energy. We have this thing called Nascar and so we just go into nascar offense and it's like a hurry up offense, but 10 times faster where we just pound away at the defense and wear down their players."

And it with that same level of intensity that Padilla approaches his class work. He currently maintains a GPA of 3.8 out of 4.0 and leading towards business or finance. "I'm looking for a place where I fit in well but also where I feel like I will be successful in the future," says the student-athlete.

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