Michigan State’s Nick Chudler works on his long-snapping before a 2018 game against Michigan at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State’s Nick Chudler works on his long-snapping before a 2018 game against Michigan at Spartan Stadium. (MSU)

Nick Chudler made the Michigan State football team as a preferred walk-on in 2018 and was on the roster that season and in 2019.

Nick Chudler didn’t live his dream, but he came mighty close.

Chudler wanted to be the long-snapper for the Michigan State University football team. He made the team as a preferred walk-on in 2018 and was on the roster that season and in 2019.

He didn’t get into any games during those two seasons, but he went with the Spartans to the 2018 Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif., where MSU lost 7-6 to Oregon.

A bad back and new coaching staff hired in 2020 brought an end to Chudler’s MSU football career after the 2019 season, but the 21-year-old MSU senior from Novi is happy he went to East Lansing and turned down chances to play football at smaller schools.

“I’m a little disappointed because I worked so hard at long-snapping for a long time and never got a chance to show everyone at MSU what I could do, but everything happens for a reason,” he said.

“I made the right choice to go to MSU. No doubt.

“A very, very low percentage of high school football players go on to play Division I college football at a Power 5 conference. I did it with my spine at a 50-degree angle. And I met so many people through playing football for MSU.”

Nick Chudler
Nick Chudler MSU

Chudler had specialized spinal fusion back surgery May 3 at a hospital in New Jersey, one of a few hospitals in the country where the surgery is done.

The surgery was delayed for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chudler said doctors went in through his right side and installed tethers and eight screws in his spine. He’s a little more than three months into a six-month recovery period.

“I’m not 100%. Not at all. But I am doing some weightlifting,” he said. “My right side is still numb, but that’s slowly getting better. The numbness is a weird feeling. I was told that would happen.”

Recovering from back surgery didn’t squash all of Chudler’s summer plans. He still did an internship in a West Bloomfield insurance office, starting the part-time job three weeks after the surgery.

Chudler plans to graduate from MSU next spring. Health communications is his major. Sales leadership is a minor.

He wants to go into medical device sales after earning a master’s degree, specializing in spinal devices. No surprise there.

There’s a chance — he labels it at 40% — that he’ll enter the NCAA transfer portal after he graduates from MSU and see if he can latch on with another college football program.

Being in a Division I college football program was an eye-opening experience for Chudler, a football and wrestling standout at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School.

“I wish I could describe the difference between high school football and Division I football. It’s insane,” he said.

How insane?

Chudler is normally a 6-foot, 195-pounder. He said he bulked up to 230 pounds when he was on the MSU football team so he could have a fighting chance to battle in the trenches after he snapped the ball.

“I hated weighing that much,” he said. “I felt heavy. My clothes didn’t fit. It seemed like I was the biggest guy when I was in class, but the guys on the football team were much bigger than I am.

“I had four roommates in a house last school year. All of them were on the MSU football team. Only one is still on the team this season. These guys are all good players.” 

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