IOWA CITY — When Thomas Nardo was finally given a scholarship this spring, it didn’t come with trumpets.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz kind of pulled him aside and let Nardo, a senior defensive tackle from Lancaster, Pa., know that he was on scholarship for his final year.
“I don’t pull trumpets out, I’m not big on that,” Ferentz said.
See, no trumpets.
Nardo’s play in Iowa’s 45-17 victory over the University of Louisiana Monroe did its own trumpeting. The 6-foot-3, 277-pounder led the Hawkeyes with 12 tackles to go with two tackles for loss and a half sack. It was his second start and it was a career game.
“It was definitely a big deal for my parents,” Nardo said jokingly. “I was excited, but I just knew I had to keep working.”
Nardo’s options coming out of Lancaster Catholic High School were William and Mary and walking on at Iowa. And that fits pretty well with his fellow defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who had a scholarship from Villanova taken off the table just before he committed to the Hawkeyes.
“It’s paid off,” Nardo said. “I’ve loved every second being here. It’s paid off being a part of Iowa Hawkeye football.”
Ferentz said Nardo’s play the last two weeks has been a welcomed surprise.
“It was kind of ‘Tom who?’ in the spring,” Ferentz said. “We were just hoping to get some reps out of him in a game, just give the other guys breathers. But it’s a great lesson, where guys just keep working.
“That’s why you’ve always got to believe what you see on film rather than slotting guys. Guys are different and he’s certainly a different player than he was in December.”