Thomas Nardo: Iowa's Man of Mystery

From nowhere, senior gains Big Ten defensive honor

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I need blanks filled in about Thomas Nardo, the Iowa defensive tackle who had a dozen stops against Louisiana Monroe Saturday in his second career start, and was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

This "On Iowa" post by Marc Morehouse after Saturday's ULM-Iowa game is a good start. Nardo is from Lancaster, Pa. His scholarship offer, according to Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, came from William & Mary, a good FCS program. Nardo chose to walk on at Iowa instead, and wasn't placed on scholarship until the spring of 2011 as he was about to enter his fifth season in the program.

That's a lot of out-of-state tuition.

Nardo redshirted in 2007, and did not see any game action in 2008 or 2009. Last year he played in seven games, and was involved in three tackles, against Eastern Illinois and Ball State.

He was co-second team defensive tackle entering fall camp. Now he's the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week.


Why did a kid from Lancaster, Pa., walk on at Iowa? The Hawkeyes have 10 walk-ons or former walk-ons in their two-deeps, but seven are from Iowa and one is from Illinois. Then there's linebacker Tom Donatell from Atlanta and Nardo.

Why and how did a kid from Lancaster, Pa., who was paying his own way to school for four years hang in there and become a signficant contributor?

Nardo likes to fish. I know that because they showed him fishing during a segment on Kirk Ferentz's Sunday night show.

Lancaster is 80 miles west of Philadelphia, 129 miles southeast of State College. It's seven miles from Bird In Hand, Pa., and 11 miles from Intercourse, Pa.

Nardo went to Lancaster Catholic High School, home of the state's AA champion in 2009. The Crusaders are 4-0 this season after a 21-14 win at Donegal last Friday. But the city of Lancaster is in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

There's a bad conflict of events in Pennsylvania on Oct. 8. Iowa plays at Penn State and the National Beard and Moustache Championships will be held in Lancaster.

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