Nick Guess is ready to go with the next phase of his football career.
The 2007 Farragut High School graduate and Tennessee's long snapper the past two seasons has signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers.
Guess won't have to wait long to get acquainted with the team and facilities. He spoke with the Chargers' traveling secretary on Tuesday and was told to catch a plane and be in San Diego on Thursday.
"I'm so pumped," Guess said. "My family is so excited, too. I just can't wait to get out there and start working."
Guess was Farragut's long snapper for 48 consecutive games while also playing fullback, tight end, defensive end, and offensive tackle. He was the Vols' long snapper in every game the past two seasons and was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Academic All-SEC teams.
His academic prowess was beneficial after signing with the Chargers.
"Since I've graduated (from UT) and due to the new rules, I can stay out there (in San Diego) for what's left of the offseason training program," Guess said.
Guess watched the NFL draft with his parents, Joey and Janet, at their home in Farragut. Not long after the draft ended, Guess got a phone call.
On the line was Chargers assistant head coach/special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. The two parties didn't take long to reach an agreement.
"They called me a few minutes after the draft was over, and I'd say within 15 or 20 minutes, it was a done
deal," Guess said.
Guess wasn't the only person in the room who was elated by the call.
"My parents were really excited for me, and I was happy to make them proud," Guess said. "It was great."
Guess said he doesn't know any players personally on the Chargers' roster, but he is acquainted with Chargers tight ends coach Jason Michael.
Michael was hired by former UT coach Phillip Fulmer in 2008 as tight ends coach. Guess enrolled at UT in January of 2007, took a redshirt year in '07, and started his eligibility for the Vols the next year.
"(Michael) called me right after I spoke with Rich Bisaccia just to congratulate me," Guess said. "I remember him from five years ago. He's a good guy."
Guess said he spoke with a few other NFL teams before the draft, and the Chargers were the first team to call him when it ended.
It was the call he'd been working to get for years — and one he thought could happen.
"I've known for the past year I had a decent chance, but it doesn't really materialize until it actually happens," Guess said. "You hope for the best, but nothing is guaranteed until you sign the contract."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.