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Seminoles' Strongest Man? DT Derrick Nnadi in a class of his own

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Florida State defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (left) playfully hugs sophomore defensive back Marcus Lewis while posing for a photo Sunday during Media Day.
Gene Williams/Warchant

On a team filled with athletes aiming be to the best at everything, there's no debate about who is Florida State's strongest player. Whether you ask coaches, players or support staff, the answer always is junior defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.

Here's why. Nnadi came in as a freshman reportedly benching 405 pounds -- or essentially two of receiver Travis Rudolph (192 pounds) at the same time. He was also squatting a little more than 600 pounds -- that's roughly the combined weight of centers Alec Eberle (299 pounds) and Corey Martinez (298 pounds).

Thanks to strength and conditioning training, Nnadi now can bench 525 pounds and squat an amazing 750. In other words, he's about 30 pounds away from being able to bench Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield (182 pounds) and Bobo Wilson (184 pounds) all at the same time.

And as for the 750 pounds? It's like squatting two of freshman offensive lineman Mike Arnold (339 pounds) -- and that's still 72 pounds below his max.

"He's the strongest guy I've ever met in my life," redshirt sophomore tight end Ryan Izzo said. "When he goes to do max, he fills up the whole bar [with plates]. The bar is bending. When he touches [his butt] on the ground, he's probably the strongest guy I've seen honestly."

Even the team's other big men pay their respects.

Just last week, in an interview with reporters, Eberle explained how he was the heaviest and strongest he had ever been in his life. When asked about others who have increased their strength, Nnadi was his immediate response.

"Derrick Nnadi. That kid was as strong as an ox to begin with," Eberle said. "He's even stronger now."

Nnadi already was strong as a sophomore in 2015. He told Warchant during FSU's Media Day that the Seminoles' strength and conditioning coaches helped him take it to another level this offseason.

He enters 2016 at 6-foot-1 and 311 pounds, with a frame that's more muscle than anything.

"From the first snap, I felt it," Nnadi said of his summer progress. "I didn't know I was this strong. But I mean, if people are saying I'm strong, then, I guess I am somewhat strong.

"But honestly, me, I don't think I'm that strong. I know there's somebody stronger than me."

If so, nobody appears willing to challenge Nnadi for the crown of "Seminoles' Strongest Man."

Izzo speaks with amazement when he discusses Nnadi's weight-room exploits. He said other players will playfully inspect the bar to make sure it's not loaded with fake weights.


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