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From a young age, the evidence was there: Joshua Nisa was different.
Nisa, now entering his junior season as a defensive lineman at San Leandro, began dominating right from the beginning of his football career as a child playing Pop Warner, showing a sign of what was to come as his time on the field would unfold.
“Probably my second season of football,” Nisa said. “I put in a lot of work in the offseason. This is Pop Warner. I put a lot of work in in the offseason, and I just came out and showed out that season. It just proved and I loved it. I love the attention. I love putting in that work and just seeing the outcome, and that’s when I thought I should really do something with this.”
During those days – and today – Nisa was and remains motivated by his family.
He always looked up to his father. His uncles were a source of inspiration as well.
And they never made it easy on Nisa, who still has trouble competing with them despite all of his success as an athlete.
“My dad and my uncles are a big, big factor in my football career,” Nisa said. “To this day I still can’t beat them in anything.”
With his upbringing and all of the time he has put in by himself and by those around him, it took Nisa no time to prove his worth as a high school football player at the varsity level – providing similar glimpses back to when he was a 7 and 8-year-old in Pop Warner.
Nisa’s sophomore season was one filled with accolades in a challenging league. He finished with 52 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles to earn his way to first team all-league recognition in the West Alameda County Foothill Division.
San Leandro’s defense, along with Nisa, allowed a mere 21.2 points per game while notching a 6-4 overall record, a 4-1 mark in the league – good for second place, only behind an Encinal squad that played for a North Coast Section Division V title – and were NCS Division II quarterfinalists before falling to Foothill.
“It just starts from your work ethic and what you do at home,” Nisa said. “You can do whatever you want, but it comes down to you and why you’re doing this. Why do you want to work for it? It’s just been pushing me and my personal goals to do more.”
Following the conclusion of that all-league and playoff season, Nisa has only added to his repertoire during this extended offseason.
His technique has improved, along with body control and everything that can make him a better football player and individual. All of that has been witnessed at camps and showcases, including some of the recent Giant Skillz Athletics showcases in the Bay Area and the Xclusive Speed Bay Area Top 100 Showcase.
“It’s been really great at these camps,” Nisa said. “I’ve grown a lot. I feel like myself personally and my pass game, and also my run game. It really helps when you go against the boys over here.”
No colleges have reached out yet to recruit Nisa, but the San Leandro standout is remaining patient through the process and is driven by that current reality.
All he can do right now is make the most of every opportunity, continue pushing for even greater pastures and focus on this upcoming campaign that is set to roll around in January for the regular season.
“For myself, just perform at a high level every game, try to make sure that I stand out in whatever I do,” Nisa said. “And for my team just making sure that we come together, even through these hard times, and just push and do all we can.”
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