Camp Q&A With Ben Nikkel
HomeHome > Blog > Camp Q&A With Ben Nikkel

Camp Q&A With Ben Nikkel

Apr 22, 2024

Iowa State defensive back and special teams stalwart Ben "Pogo" Nikkel is a redshirt senior from McPherson, Kansas. On Monday, August 7, Nikkel was awarded for his hard work by receiving a scholarship for the 2023 season.

Pogo, you are now on scholarship! @ben_nikkel212🌪️🚨🌪️ What was your journey like getting to Iowa State and why did you choose the Cyclones?

Ben Nikkel: So my journey was a little bit different than a lot of other people. I came in as a 21-year old walk-on and I chose Iowa State because they gave me the opportunity to live out my dream in playing Division I college football. Having that opportunity has been awesome. How did it feel when you were put on scholarship and what were some of those emotions that you felt when you found out?

BN: It was honestly crazy and a moment that I will never forget. Having all my teammates there with me and having their support and having them there for that was honestly amazing, but we still need to continue to put the work in. It is great to be on scholarship but we still have some work to do. What are some personal and team goals you have for this upcoming season?

BN: For the team is to honestly just be better than last season and win as many games as possible. Personally, I want to continue to grow as a football player defensively and on the special teams unit. I just want to be the best I can each time I step on the field. What are some things that have changed on special teams with the new coaches?

BN: The schematics of it have been great and the way that Coach Langs teaches us those schematics has been great. Also, the mentality that he brings to each meeting, to each rep on the field, his intensity is contagious, and you can feel it tremendously. The way he carries himself has been great for each special teams unit and he just brings the dog mentality to just get after it. What has been your favorite moment(s) in your Iowa State career?

BN: Really, it's every moment down in the locker room with the team. It does not get much better than that. You know twenty years from now, I won't remember much of the games, but I will remember the memories I made with my teammates down in the locker room. All the hard workouts that we had to go through, all the journeys that got us to the games really is what I will remember the most. How did you get the nickname Pogo?

BN: So that came from when I first got here in 2021. The old strength staff and coach Trever Ryen gave me that nickname when we were doing some vertical jumps. Then Coach Campbell in a team meeting during spring ball that year called me Pogo and I don't think half the team actually knew my real name. They just knew me by Pogo at that time and it's just stuck around. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

BN: I don't have any pregame rituals, I just kind of get up and go. There is a superstition I have though. I wear the same headband during every game and every practice. I do wash it. I got to keep the long hair out of my face a little bit. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

BN: I like to golf a lot with the boys. Just hang out with my teammates. You know, whenever you got time to relax we get off our feet and hang out. Especially this time of the year it's really busy for us and this (Bergstrom Football Complex and Stark Performance Center) is our second home and we are here all the time. Throughout camp, what are some things fans should be excited about that you have noticed?

BN: The mentality of this team and the togetherness of this team is unlike any team I have been a part of. Everyone here genuinely cares for each other and we all go to work for each other to fight for each other. So I think the togetherness of this team is something that will stand out on Saturdays.

A post shared by Ben Nikkel (@bennikkel12)