Nermin Delic discusses Terps commitment
When Nermin Delic puts his mind to something, the Maryland-bound defensive end-tight end gives nothing less than 100 percent.
It’s a quality that has served the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder well throughout his high school career at Northwest Whitfield in Tunnel Hill, Ga. But Delic’s well-known work ethic is also one of the reasons he’s headed to College Park instead of an SEC school.
After the Bruins’ 6-4 season last fall, Delic went straight into basketball mode, working out like a maniac in order to improve his quickness and agility. By January, Delic was down to 215 pounds. As Northwest Whitfield’s starting center, Delic averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.
While basketball couldn’t have gone much better, the slimmed-down Delic began to think his weight loss limited his recruiting. Marshall, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State offered scholarships, but most of the SEC and ACC schools -- other than Maryland -- were taking a wait-and-see approach.
“When I went to Georgia, they were planning to offer me that day when I went to Junior Day,” Delic said. “I showed up at 215 pounds, and they were like ‘go home.’ But I deserved it. I was pretty mad, but when I got home, my dad told me ‘you look like a receiver or a [defensive back].’ ... That’s when I really decided to get committed to football. So I’ve been hitting the weights hard and eating right.”
Since those winter Junior Day visits, Delic has added 25 pounds of muscle onto his frame. Northwest Whitfield coach Mike Falleur said it’s pretty clear Delic’s weight made the difference in his recruitment.
“Georgia had him up [earlier this month] and they loved him, but they’re in the race for two of the best [defensive ends] in the country,” Falleur said. “But they told me on the phone Monday, ‘Coach, he can play in the SEC.’ There’s guys out there right now that weigh 250, 260. If he weighed that right now, he’d have offers from [the biggest programs in the country].”
As a junior at Northwest Whitfield, Delic recorded approximately 75 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also caught about six passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, while grading out in the mid-80s on his blocking assignments.
Most of the attention Delic received from recruiters was for defensive end, but Falleur noted that he’s a promising tight end prospect as well. Falleur recalled the time Delic squared off against a Georgia-bound defensive lineman last fall. On the first play of the game, Delic, playing tight end, promptly blew the future Bulldog “12 yards off the football. He just manhandled him,” Falleur said. So with that in mind, the Terps’ coaching staff has a decision to make on Delic’s future position.
“I think [Maryland’s offensive and defensive coaches] are really fighting over him. I think both sides want him,” Falleur said. “I think wherever they put him, he’s going to be pretty good at either one. I think he has a defensive mentality, but he’s a great blocker and he’s never off his feet. But at the same time, he loves rushing the passer and getting after folks.”
Delic was born in Bosnia, but his family fled the war-torn country when he was 6. The Delic family spent their first year in the United States in Seattle, but after a year they relocated to Dalton, Ga., where they’ve been ever since. Delic grew up following Georgia closely, but has been a close of observer of college football in general for the majority of his life. So while Maryland may not get a lot of attention around his hometown, Delic was very familiar with the Terps’ program even before they started recruited him.
“I follow college football real well ... and I know what kind of program Maryland is,” Delic said. “They’re trying to get back to where they were in [the early parts of this decade] when they contended in the ACC every year. I knew about guys like Vernon Davis and Shawne Merriman, and how Davis came in and put on 40 pounds in four years, dropped his 40 time by two-tenths of a second and improved his vertical about seven inches. Right away I knew they were doing something right in the strength and conditioning program. So I was real impressed by that. I knew Coach Friedgen had a good reputation of being a man of integrity, so I pretty much knew about the school [before visiting]. But when I went there [last weekend] I was blown away. It was amazing. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like. Everything was awesome.”
Delic’s playing basketball in a summer league with his high school team right now. He’s also spending ample amounts of his time in the weight room, making sure he at least maintains his current weight. Meanwhile, Falleur continues to receive calls from other programs about the future Terp.
“Maryland’s getting a dang good football player,” Falleur said. “Don’t think because he didn’t have the big ones offer [that he‘s not a great player], because he can play. I think Clemson was fixin’ to pull the trigger, I think NC State was fixin’ to pull the trigger, and Vanderbilt and Kentucky were right there, too. But when he went up [to Maryland] he said he loved it. ... I’d say [Maryland fans] are going to be very excited when he lines up.”