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August 26, 2011Some freshmen may shy away from jumping right into the pressures of major college football, preferring to ease themselves in, but not NC State rookie kicker Niklas Sade.
That's a good thing for the Wolfpack, too, since Sade almost has to be the kicker for State this fall.
"That was the main thing I was looking at for schools," Sade admitted. "Even Nebraska, I was looking for schools that I had a chance to start as a freshman. It was just a perfect opportunity for me. That's what I wanted."
Nebraska was where Sade had committed to kick for during the summer before his senior season, but the product of Wakefield High in Raleigh, N.C., decided over the holidays last winter that he would rather stay closer to home.
"I live like 20 minutes from here, whenever I need something I can call my parents, take care of it, go home, come back," he noted. "It's really great to have that option to have.
"It's been perfect."
Raleigh developed as Sade's home after he moved to the area from Germany in the third grade. He did not know English then and thus was briefly home-schooled, but Sade proved to be a quick learner. By the end of the summer, he was fluent in the language and ready for fourth grade.
His family still speaks German at home, and Sade added that he only speaks German with fifth-year senior defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, another German-native on the Wolfpack squad.
Like most Europeans, Sade was a soccer fan when he arrived in Raleigh. That started to turn in middle school.
"All my friends were playing football and said, 'You should try it out,'" Sade said. "Since I was kicking soccer balls, I just started kicking footballs. I started playing in eighth grade.
"I played a little wide receiver in middle school, but once I started getting better at kicking coaches just wanted me to not get hurt."
Sade at that point came to a crossroads, soccer or football.
"It was [hard] at first, but then I was thinking what was the best future for me, and I saw a bigger future in football than soccer," Sade stated.
After his freshman season at Wakefield High, Sade began working with Dan Orner a former UNC and NFL kicker. His career began to blossom, and he would selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this past winter.
The heralded recruit has impressed this preseason, easing NC State's concerns about turning over its kicking game to a true freshman. In three scrimmages, Sade made 10 of 12 field goals, including a 53-yarder as time expired during a situational scrimmage.
"It's been consistent," Sade noted. "I'm trying to get that perfection though."
And like the recruit who relished the chance to start right away, Sade said that he does not feel any pressure.
"You can't get nervous, especially being a kicker," Sade said. "Being nervous the No. 1 downfall. I got to be confident in my skills. I know what I have. I just use that every time I get out there."
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