Carl Nassib is entering his fifth season at Penn State, where he has played for four defensive coordinators, three head coaches and two defensive line coaches, yet still finds it amazing that he wears the blue and white and plays in Beaver Stadium.
His road hasn't been an easy one - from Malvern Prep to walk-on who didn't play for two years to scholarship player to probable starting defensive end for the Nittany Lions. But the journey has been a tribute to Nassib's focus, work ethic and motor on the field.
The fact that he finds it difficult to believe his current station in his college football life may have something to do with his success as well.
"Every day I'm excited to be a part of Penn State football," the 6-foot-7, 272-pound West Chester resident said. "It just hits me every now and then. I'll walk through the weight room and say, 'Wow, I'm here.' That's how I've been feeling all four years like, 'Wow, it's such a blessing to be here.' I love it."
Nassib's coaches would return the love, especially after a fine spring that ended with head coach James Franklin predicting "a breakout year" this season for Nassib and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop calling him "a beast" in the nicest possible way.
"I think he's going to be one of those guys that comes out of nowhere and has an all-Big Ten-caliber year," Shoop said after the Blue-White Game. "He's going to be that guy who people say, 'Boy, I didn't even think about him' but he could be a five-to-10-year veteran in the NFL. We feel like he's got NFL potential."
Reminded of Shoop's statement, Nassib said, "It's a very nice compliment. Coach Shoop is a very smart guy. I love him a lot and with everything he's doing here. But I just take it day by day. I don't think about it."
The Nassib family has a presence in the NFL. Ryan Nassib, who at 25 is three years older, is the backup quarterback for the New York Giants after a record-breaking career at Syracuse. Carl calls his older brother "my role model."
"He always told me, 'Put your head down and work,' " he said. "He's a very quiet guy. He's the hardest worker ever. He just keeps his mouth shut and works every day, and that's kind of how I learned to do it. It's a really good way to go about it."
Nassib also has a younger brother, John, who is a 6-7, 260-pound sophomore defensive end at Delaware.
Nassib, a two-time academic all-Big Ten player who plans to go to medical school, was brought in as a preferred walk-on by Joe Paterno and redshirted his first year. He did not see any game action the following season after Bill O'Brien succeeded Paterno.
However, O'Brien was so impressed with Nassib's practices that he called the player in for a meeting before the 2013 season. Nassib said he was "freaking out" when he arrived at O'Brien's office because he had yet to pay his bill for the fall semester.
It turned out he didn't have to. O'Brien awarded him a scholarship.
"I was really nervous that I wasn't going to be able to practice," he said. "But then there was this positive turn. I was very, very surprised. It was awesome."
"Awesome" is the way Nassib would describe his entire time at Penn State. However, now that he's almost assured of starting the Nittany Lions' season opener against Temple, he's not slowing down.
"You want to get better every single day, compete every day," he said. "You might be pretty sure where you are but you're never complacent. Every day you've got to work hard and earn your keep."