Nate Palmer Interview
Sr. / Illinois State / LB

Updated - 3-28-13

By: Alex Khvatov


Alex Khvatov:  What are your measurements (height, weight and forty time)?

Nate Palmer:  I never ran the forty before.  I am listed at 6’2 and 240.           


Alex Khvatov:  When you were coming out of high school, what programs showed interest in you?   

Nate Palmer:  I was getting recruited by all of the Big 10 schools except Ohio State.  UCLA, Clemson and Notre Dame showed interest.  But those three schools never offered.  I didn’t play my junior year of high school because I broke my ankles. 


Alex Khvatov:  Describe your road to recovery after the injury.   

Nate Palmer:  I rehabbed during the off-season.  I just came back that next year.  I had a point to prove during my senior year.  I was getting overlooked by a lot of people.  I didn’t play my junior year of high school.  I wanted to show people that I can actually play. 


Alex Khvatov:  What made you choose Illinois?

Nate Palmer:  My best friend from high school was going there.  Another one of my teammates Martez Wilson went there.  They were fresh of the Rose Bowl victory. 


Alex Khvatov:  Tell me about your career at Illinois.

Nate Palmer:  I spent three seasons at Illinois.  I went there as a true freshman.  I redshirted my first year because I was a little bit undersized.  I needed to learn the playbook.  The next spring, I made it a point to grasp the playbook.  I played on special teams my redshirt freshman season.  My redshirt sophomore, we got a whole new defense.  I turned around and got hurt in a car accident in July.  After that, it seemed like everything was spiraling out of control.  I just felt like I needed a new start.  I just needed a transfer. 


Alex Khvatov:  You got into a fight in November of your redshirt sophomore year, describe that incident to us.  It seems that Illinois wanted you to stay from what I could gather, why did you decide to leave?

Nate Palmer:  I want to clarify this incident.  I wasn’t involved in a fight.  I didn’t throw a punch.  I didn’t do anything.  I just happened to be driving the car out of which a person hopped out of when the fight happened.  I just felt like I needed to leave because Coach Zook and I had a few conversations as far as getting more playing time for myself.  I didn’t see that happen.  I knew that I had two more years left.  I thought that this saga could continue.  I wanted to give myself a chance to play at the next level.  I didn’t see myself doing that while only playing on special teams.  I didn’t see many scouts coming here and paying attention to special teams.  The scouts wanted to see what you would do during the course of the game. 


Alex Khvatov:  Why did you decide to transfer to Illinois State?

Nate Palmer:  It was close to home.  I have never really been out of the state of Illinois.  I just wanted to stay close to home.  If something would go wrong, I would have only two hours to drive to Chicago versus being somewhere in Texas.


Alex Khvatov:  Are you happy with the way your career unfolded at Illinois State?

Nate Palmer:  It was pretty good.  I came in and I had to earn a spot.  I wasn’t just given that spot.  It was one of the best decisions that I have made.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  It gave me a second chance.  The whole Illinois State’s coaching staff gave me a chance that I needed.  I needed a fresh start like this. 


Alex Khvatov:  What are your strengths?

Nate Palmer:  I can rush the passer.  I pride myself on that.  I love getting after the QB.


Alex Khvatov:  What areas of your game are you trying to improve upon? 

Nate Palmer:  I came from a public school in Chicago.  We were not big into lifting weights.  I need to get stronger in my upper body.  I wasn’t that strong when I got to Illinois.  I felt like I was always catching up when it comes to strength.  I felt like I was always behind.  When I played on the defensive line, offensive linemen outweighed me by about 40 or 50 pounds.  I have the lower body strength, but I need to get stronger in my upper body. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is the highlight of your career up to this point?

Nate Palmer:  It was actually the reaction of us making the playoffs this year.  Two years ago, we were watching the selection show, but we didn’t get in.  It was the biggest crushing blow that I have ever experienced.  I was speechless.  This past year, we were back in the same room.  I was so happy when our team’s name came up on TV.  All of this off-season conditioning wasn’t for nothing. 


Alex Khvatov:  How did the playoff run end for your team?

Nate Palmer:  It ended in the third round against Eastern Washington.  They were a really talented team.  We couldn’t get any stops on defense when we needed it.  Turnovers were killing us. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is your favorite NFL team?

Nate Palmer:  I am a Chicago fan.  I root for the Bears, the White Sox, the Cubs and the Blackhawks. 


Alex Khvatov:  How tough was it for you this past season to see the Bears miss the playoffs and for Lovie Smith to get fired? 

Nate Palmer:  I like Lovie.  They should have given him one more year.  I understand that it is a business at the end of the day.  They have to do what’s best for the team.  I was disappointed that the Bears didn’t make the playoffs.  I was hoping that they would make the playoffs because they started the season 7-1.  I was talking smack to some of my teammates because they are from Wisconsin.  They are Packers fans. 


Alex Khvatov:  Who is your favorite NFL player?

Nate Palmer:  I want to be like DeMarcus Ware.  I like the way he gets after the QB.  I feel like we play a similar position.  I just look up to him. 


Alex Khvatov:  Do you feel more comfortable playing as a DE or as an OLB?

Nate Palmer:  I see myself in the hybrid stand-up role.  I can put my hand on the ground because I have done it before.  But the hybrid position would give me a chance to fight off blockers better.  I play the run better when I am standing on my feet. 


Alex Khvatov:  What did you enjoy the most about playing college football?

Nate Palmer:  I love the big crowds.  I like how loud they get on third downs.  I played in front of 110,000 people against Ohio State when I was at Illinois.  We played in front of a sold-out stadium at Michigan.  I am real big on crowds. 


Alex Khvatov:  What are your hobbies?

Nate Palmer:  I like watching movies.  I sit down, relax and put on a movie.  I play video games every now and then.  But I am not really big on video games. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is your favorite movie?

Nate Palmer:  I like Any Given Sunday.  Jamie Fox got called upon into action while he was a backup before.  He didn’t respond in the most fashionable way.  But it just shows that you won’t be stuck in a role for long.  When you are called upon, you need to capitalize.  You can be a backup in the NFL, but when a player like Ray Lewis goes down, you have to be ready to respond.  You never know when you time will come.


Alex Khvatov:  What makes you a unique individual?

Nate Palmer:  I am not one of those guys that will give motivational speeches.  I am really quiet.  I am really humble.  I don’t boast and brag.    


Alex Khvatov:  What is your definition of a leader?

Nate Palmer:  A leader is someone who sets an example.  A leader just goes in and does it.  My head coach told me that you are a natural leader.  You just do it without saying anything, and people follow you.


Alex Khvatov:  Which underclassmen on your team should we keep an eye on in the future?

Nate Palmer:  Colton Underwood.  He played opposite of me.  He also played inside.  I think that he will have an amazing season.  Josh Aladenoye is a LT.  He transferred from Oklahoma.  He is going to have a breakout year.  He got better in no time.  He is someone to watch out for.    


Alex Khvatov:  How does it feel to be a small fish in a large pond?

Nate Palmer:  It is difficult.  When I was at the NFLPA game, NFL people would overlook me because I wasn’t from a big program.  At the end of the day, I take pride of where I am from.  I am happy that I went to a small school.  I look at it as a challenge.  I watch NFL games and see guys from small schools.  They made it, so why can’t I make it.  It is a chance for you too 


Alex Khvatov:  Where are you training for the NFL Draft?

Nate Palmer:  I am training in Tampa, Florida.  I am at Cooper Speed and Strength. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is your training regimen like right now?  Take us into your daily routine.

Nate Palmer:  We train two times a day.  We train 5 or 6 days a week.  I wake up in the morning and eat breakfast.  Then I had over to the facility.  I run the forty or do position drills.  We run in the morning.  We eat our lunch there.  We relax.  Then we go back for our weightlifting portion of the workout.  We stretch out after each workout.  We go home after that.  On the weekends, we condition on Saturdays.  We have a track workout. 


Alex Khvatov:  Finish the sentence, Nate Palmer is ….

Nate Palmer:  On the field, I am a quiet leader.  I lead by example.  Off the field, I am also a quiet guy.  I just like to relax.    


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