Denzel Ward is now a member of the Cleveland Browns, while Billy Price, Sam Hubbard and Chris Worley are now members of the Cincinnati Bengals.
One other member of last year’s Ohio State football team, however, had the opportunity to try out with both of the state’s NFL teams earlier this month.
Nick Seme, who walked on to the Buckeyes last season as a defensive end, participated in the Cleveland Browns’ rookie minicamp earlier this month as a long snapper. One week later, Seme traveled down Interstate 71 to the opposite end of the state, where he snapped at the Cincinnati Bengals’ rookie minicamp.
Seme, who initially thought his football career was over when he transferred from Ashland University to Ohio State in 2014, described the opportunity to participate in those minicamps as "a dream come true."
"First and foremost, I’m grateful for the opportunity," Seme told Eleven Warriors. "To get the chance to go to these organizations and being able to kind of showcase my talents, showcase my skills and kind of just, as they say, leave it out on the field and kind of let them decide what goes on from here on out."
Whether Seme will have the opportunity to continue his football career from here, however, remains to be seen.
Although the Browns and Bengals each gave Seme the chance to compete at their rookie minicamps, neither team has offered him a roster spot as of yet. Seme plans to continue training, though, with guidance from Ohio State assistant strength and conditioning coach Quinn Barham, with an eye on potentially landing another opportunity when NFL training camps open in July.
In his tryouts in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Seme said he wanted to show that he was competitive, coachable and a great teammate, and he felt like he did. That said, he also said he learned new things about being a long snapper – things that he wasn’t aware of before the minicamps – that he can now work on to improve at the position.
"After these two camps, I’m aware of kind of what I need to work on and what I need to do to not only make a spot on a roster, but to keep it," Seme said. "So it’s kind of something now where it’s not so much about knowing what to do, it’s moreso just kind of covering my bases and keeping in shape, so if a call comes, where I can kind of step into that role and understand what it takes."
While he went unselected in last month’s NFL draft, Seme’s Ohio State ties played a key role in landing him the two rookie minicamp invitations he received. Before the draft, Seme had the opportunity to work out at the Browns’ pro day for local prospects, where he showed enough long-snapping ability – despite never playing the position in a collegiate game – to earn another tryout after the draft. At Ohio State’s pro day, meanwhile, Seme had the opportunity to work out with Bengals assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs – the son of former Ohio State cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs – and impressed him enough to get an invite from the Bengals, too.
"The long snapper shows ability," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of Seme after the first day of their rookie minicamp, "and we have the chance to evaluate him and get to know him."
Although he grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, Seme wasn’t a Browns or Bengals fan growing up; his family has roots in Minnesota, so Seme grew up as a Vikings fan. Many of his friends were Browns fans, though, so he said it was special for both him and for them to see him have the opportunity to wear a Browns jersey for a few days.
Seme said he wanted to make sure that his family, friends and everyone else who has helped him along the way felt like they were a part of the process, too, as he got his taste of what the NFL is like.
"I was just keeping everyone in the loop … letting them know how much it meant to me to even get to this point," Seme said. "I didn’t want to let it go without being said to these people that have helped me out along the way."
Former Ohio State walk-on Nick Seme long snapping at Cincinnati Bengals rookie minicamp. pic.twitter.com/c4y7keKn2k— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) May 11, 2018
Seme expressed gratitude to Ohio State, too, for preparing him well for his opportunity to take his shot at the NFL.
"I think being at Ohio State to begin with, it more than prepared me enough for these last couple weeks and the last few months, kind of training for the pro days and what not," Seme said. "Everyone from the strength coaches to the position coaches and even just all the staff that work in that building, it’s something that was new in its own right, but at the same time, it was something that I felt prepared for, because of my experiences at Ohio State."
Seme’s attempt to make it to the next level has certainly been unconventional. He spent only one season on the football team at Ashland, in which he suffered a shoulder injury, before transferring to Ohio State. He wasn’t even on the Ohio State football team until last season, when he played only 12 total snaps. But while he still has to overcome the odds just to get a shot to play in an NFL game, he says he wants to set an example for others that there is more than just one path to success.
"I feel like a lot of people kind of get caught up in there’s a certain way to do things, there’s a path you have to follow," Seme said. "And what I’ve learned overall, too, is you don’t have to, you can kind of break that mold, per se. So I had a really kind of crazy journey, how I’ve gotten to this point, so I just feel like if you kind of really focus on yourself and hard work and goals and stuff like that, you can kind of push through any situation that you’re in."
While Seme still hopes to get the call from the NFL, he’s excited about his future either way. If he isn’t on an NFL roster this fall, Seme plans to begin physical therapy school at the University of Dayton, and he says that’s something he wants to pursue regardless of whether he gets the chance to play professional football.
"I want to make the most of whatever opportunity … I don’t value one over the other," Seme said of playing football and becoming a physical therapist. "I think they’re both equal in their own right, and something where I’m going to give it my all either way I go. They’re both huge interests of mine."
Although he plans to proceed forward with his graduate education, Seme says he hasn’t set a timetable for when it might be time to move on from his professional football dreams. For now, Seme plans to continue training and working to improve on his craft, preparing himself as best as possible for if and when another opportunity might come.
Even if he never plays another down of football, though, Seme says he’ll remain grateful for the chances he had to experience life with two NFL teams.
"If something works out, great. If not, I’m more than thankful for the opportunity that I’ve gotten," Seme said. "It’s something that will never be able to be taken away from me."