Colorado State starting quarterback Nick Stevens’ competitive edge and strive for excellence goes way beyond the football field.
When thinking about Stevens, the redshirt senior’s accomplishments on the football field naturally come to mind first.
After all, Stevens has led the Rams to their first 4-0 start in Mountain West play since 2002. He ranks fourth among all FBS quarterbacks with 2,486 passing yards through eight games and sixth with 20 touchdowns. It’s not as if Stevens has just been flinging the ball up and hoping for the best, either. The quarterback has been extremely efficient, evidenced by his passer rating of 153.9, good for 21st in the nation.
However, Stevens has also piled up a hefty amount of academic accolades throughout his collegiate career as well. And just as the athletic milestones continue to pile up, so do the academic accomplishments.
Stevens was a member of the All-Mountain West Academic Team in 2015. In addition, he has already earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, a far cry from a typical “jock” degree. He did so last semester and still has plenty of academic goals in which he is pursuing. Currently, Stevens is attempting to earn a master’s degree in tourism management. The tourism management program is a vigorous, nine-month course online with weekend deadlines. Still, Stevens hopes to extend his academic tenure even further.
“I really want to end up going back and getting my MBA,” Stevens said. “But I didn’t want to have a situation where I would do a semester and then I would go train somewhere and kind of have to come back in a few years and finish it, or be in a situation where I was $50,000 in debt. So I picked one that I could finish and had an interest in and it’s going really great so far.”
Stevens has aspirations of going into the finance world when his football career is all said and done. But it’s clear Stevens is keeping his future career paths wide open. That’s the reason why he also is studying tourism management. Something that comes with building a strong foundation for the future is having a lot on one’s plate. This is obviously the case for Stevens, who has balanced two degrees with his duties as CSU’s quarterback.
However, Stevens doesn’t seem the least bit overwhelmed with keeping his priorities straight.
“Balancing everything hasn’t been too bad,” Stevens said. “All of my classes right now are online so it works out a lot better with my football schedule. The tough part about online classes is sometimes there are weekend deadlines. So it really makes me get on top of things earlier in the week, which I haven’t really ever been super good at. But, I’ve been building another skill I guess.”
Though the unfortunate truth is that many scholarship athletes take their free education for granted, this is definitely not the case for Stevens. That mindset didn’t just arise at CSU, either. Stevens also shined in the classroom at Vista Murrieta High School where he accumulated a 4.21 GPA.
As a result, the Murrieta, Calif. native was a member of the Southwestern League All-Scholastic Team in 2011 and 2012. Stevens also began college with over 50 credits under his belt after completing numerous AP and dual-enrollment courses in high school.
“It kind of just started with being really good with math,” Stevens said. “I was always in advanced math growing up and then when I got to high school I just was thinking about my future early on and wanted to put myself in the best position possible. I wasn’t all that interested in anything besides math, but it was just something I could do to challenge myself and kind of help out my future as well.”
Though they weren’t too harsh on grades, Stevens’ parents emphasized that he gave maximum effort in everything he did. This helped translate into Stevens prioritizing academics at a young age. The positive parental influence in Stevens’ life undeniably factors into what he has accomplished on the football field and in the classroom.
“You know his dad is a police officer,” starting center Jake Bennett said. “I think he’s got a pretty good foundation at home. He’s just a good all around dude. He’s definitely the type of guy that’s well beyond his years.”
Stevens is definitely a few steps ahead of where most Division I athletes imagine themselves being during the thick of their athletic careers. Alongside the emphasis he puts on academics, Stevens’ mature demeanor can be seen in his personal life as well.
Last year, on their four-year anniversary, Stevens proposed to his high school sweetheart Haley Scheer. The two got married in May of 2016 and have been together since. Stevens and Scheer discussed if it was the appropriate time to get married since Stevens still had a full season left of college football. But, “when you know, you know” and they knew. From football to school, Scheer has been the backbone of support to Stevens.
“She’s totally supportive of everything I’m doing from academics to athletics to my free time,” Stevens said. “She’s an awesome wife. She’s super supportive and understands that sometimes I can’t devote all of my attention to her because of other things I have going on. She’s really great about that.”
Despite prioritizing things in life similar to how a middle-aged adult does, Stevens doesn’t appear to carry the same stress as a married, working man. If he does, Stevens doesn’t show it in the way he carries himself. Stevens can be described as a relaxed, easy-going guy who takes everything in stride.
“He doesn’t take himself too seriously,” Bennett said. “He’s still that So-Cal guy who’s a little laid back and carries himself in that way. But when it’s time to be professional, he can throw that on. When it’s time to hang out with the guys, he can for sure do that too.”
From taking a look at Stevens’ personal life, he exemplifies what the quarterback and leader of every team should: Give everything 110%, make the most of your opportunities and keep your priorities straight.