Nolan Gorczyca could not pass up chance to play at KU
When Nolan Gorczyca had a chance to get back closer to home it was an opportunity he could not pass up.
Gorczyca, originally from Nebraska, signed with Buffalo last year after being recruited by several members who are now coaching at Kansas. When he decided to enter the transfer portal Kansas was an option from the start.
Two weeks ago, Gorczyca took an official visit to Kansas to meet the coaches who recruited him to Buffalo.
“Lawrence is an awesome place to be, and just actually getting to meet their coaches that I've known for a year and a half in person, getting to shake their hands was awesome,” Gorczyca said. “The facilities are top notch.
“I've never seen anything like that in my life. Seeing campus, it feels like a real college campus. It feels like somewhere where there's always something going on and something you can do. Overall, my official visit was just incredible.”
An official visit was something new to Gorczyca. When he signed last year at Buffalo, he did not get to take one because of Covid. Recruits had to sign with their schools without an official visit and could not see campus unless they had taken a visit before the Covid rules went into effect.
The only experience he had with an official visit was watching recruits who visited Buffalo this year since he was a current player.
“This is the only one I've ever been able to take because I was a Covid recruit,” he said. “I completely missed all in-person recruiting from March on in my senior year of high school. I'd never seen what people do at officials. I kind of had an idea because there were officials at Buffalo when I was there, but it was incredible.”
It gave Gorczyca the chance to reunite with Taiwo Onatolu, Scott Fuchs, and Lance Leipold. Onatolu, who was recently named the defensive line coach, was the lead recruiter when he was at Buffalo. The two had a lot in common because Onatolu is also from Nebraska.
“Coach O was my area recruiter,” he said. “He was the first person I talked to from Buffalo. He's from Omaha, where I'm from. He went to high school there so we have a lot in common. That definitely helps in recruiting when they know where you're from. It helps a lot as a coach, with a coach-to-player relationship also because there's so much that we just understand of each other without even knowing.”
Making the decision to transfer to Kansas gives Gorczyca the opportunity to play for Fuchs. He never got the chance to do that because Fuchs left for Kansas in May and Gorczyca arrived at Buffalo in the summer.
“I have known Coach Fuchs since March of 2020,” he said. “Meeting him the first time I knew he was the real deal, and he was a good coach. After seeing how well the unit at Buffalo did in 2020, it only furthered my belief in him.
“After the staff left UB, I was extremely disappointed that I wouldn't get to play for Coach Fuchs. After this opportunity showed up, I am just counting my blessings that I am able to come back and be able to play for such a great coach.”
Playing for Leipold was a big reason he chose Buffalo in the first place.
“Coach Leipold is just a proven winner,” Gorczyca said. “I love winning football games. I don't know about anybody else, but I think I might love winning than other people. I won a lot in high school. That feeling that you get, it's just second to none, knowing that you have worked so hard to win. Winning at Whitewater, winning at Buffalo, anywhere he's been, it follows him.”
Gorczyca said he is a midwestern person and loves the area. When he got a chance to get back closer to home and play for the coaches who recruited him to Buffalo it was not a difficult decision.
“I'm happier than ever,” he said. “I didn't realize in my high school recruiting how much different it would be to not live so close to home. I just love the Midwest honestly. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, but I love where I'm from. I love the plains. I love the Midwest.”
Gorczyca brings a lot of upside to the offensive line
Sean Callahan, the publisher of Husker Online, watched Gorczyca play in high school. He also scouted him at the Shrine Bowl.
Here is what Callahan had to say about him.
He was a three-sport athlete at a class B Catholic school that really has never put out a division one football player in many years. So, he was off the radar. But, what always jumped out to me was, he was on a really good basketball team and could run the court at his size.
He played baseball on a team that won the state championship and obviously was a two-way starter on the football team. He was one of those kids that wasn't highly trained up. He played three sports and he knew that once he just focused on football, he was going to get really good. He ran track this past year for the first time in his life, qualified for state in the shot.
A 300 pound guy running that type of 400 time, that's really, really good. He played in the Shrine Bowl. I worked the Shrine Bowl here every year, and the coach said, 'Every year there's a guy that the college guys missed on, or Nebraska missed on. I'll tell you right now, the coaching staff here of our Shrine Bowl team have all agreed, we're going to see this Nolan Gorczyca guy playing on Sundays.'"