While most people dream their dreams, Nate Trewyn is living out his.
The 2019 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just over two months ago.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s been something I’ve been working for since I was a kid,” Trewyn said regarding the last two months. “Going down there right away and getting to the facilities, meeting guys like Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, guys of that magnitude in the NFL, it’s been a dream come true.”
The first taste of true NFL action Trewyn got was his three-day rookie minicamp, which started on May 10.
“It went well, my coaches over at Whitewater prepped me really well to play with those guys,” said Trewyn, a Milton High School offensive lineman. “It did take a little bit of an adjustment against guys who weigh over 300 pounds, but move as quick as some of the guys that weigh 250.”
Tampa Bay held its mandatory minicamp from June 4-6, which involved Trewyn to square off with not only rookies, but NFL veterans.
“The guys are a lot bigger,” Trewyn said with a chuckle. “You’re going up against guys like Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and (former Wisconsin Badgers defensive tackle) Beau Allen.
“At the Division III level, you don’t have guys like that. Going into camp, that’s the first time I’ve gone into a guy 330, 350 and moves just as quick as a defensive end.
“Going in I felt like I was prepared and it took a little adjusting to get to it. At this point I feel like I’m able to handle it.”
One guy Trewyn won’t have to worry about blocking on the defensive line in practice is fellow offensive lineman Ali Marpet.
Just like Trewyn, Marpet was a Division III player. Marpet played at Hobart College and was selected 61st overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, the highest drafted Division III player in the history of the NFL.
Tampa Bay re-signed the left guard to a five-year extension worth $54.125 million in 2018.
“Going in I knew who Ali was, I knew he was a Division III guy,” Trewyn said. “The first day I was there I saw him and I went up to him and introduced myself and he knew who I was. I talk to him a lot. I see him basically every day.
“The first thing he told me is, ‘it doesn’t matter where you went to school, you made it, you’re here.’”
For three weeks since the conclusion of the mandatory minicamp, Trewyn said he has been lifting and conditioning with fellow rookies. After three weeks of post-mandatory minicamp training, Trewyn headed back home to Wisconsin, where he will train for roughly three weeks before training camp begins in late July.
“It’s good to get away from work every once in a while, especially when it’s as strenuous and stressful as football can be sometimes,” Trewyn said. “It is good to get away from the game, but when I’m here I’m still training, doing everything I can to make sure I’m ready for when I get back.”
Despite some stress, Trewyn wouldn’t describe his last two months as a hardship.
“If you come to a point where you’re like, this is hard, you just think back to why you’re there,” Trewyn said.
“I’m playing football for a career right now, there’s not much I can complain about,” he added.
And when he does get a little overwhelmed, he still has his support system.
“If I have a rough day, I can call my girlfriend and she will give me advice and I get off the phone and I’m as motivated as ever,” Trewyn said. “Same with my parents. I call them, they have some type of advice.”
The future holds a lot of excitement and potential for Trewyn. A UW-Whitewater player making an NFL roster would not be unprecedented.
Former Warhawk Jake Kumerow made the Green Bay Packers’ roster last season as a wide receiver.
And although Kumerow built quite the resume in Whitewater (D3football.com National Offensive Player of the Year and he finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 36), Trewyn’s resume may be even more impressive.
In his senior season at UW-Whitewater, Trewyn was named an Associated Press first team All-American and won the Rimington Award, which is awarded to the top center in Division III. He also spearheaded the Warhawks’ potent offense, which averaged 39.2 points per game and 435.8 yards per game.
For Trewyn, it’s going to be a day-by-day process.
“I’m a day-by-day guy. I’m just going to do the best I can at that time, that day, and obviously take advantage of the opportunity I have at this point,” Trewyn said.