Nick Bookout, Gulf Breeze senior
Q. Where are you from originally?
A. Originally, I was born in Washington, D.C., lived there until I was 3 and then moved here and have been here since.
Q. How old were you when you first started playing football?
A. I'd say I was 7 years old. I've been in Gulf Breeze every year since then.
Q. What is it about football that first attracted you to the sport?
A. I think part of it is getting to be a part of a team. Sharing all the emotions that come with football, with all the other people that you go through practice and games with, sharing those blood, sweat and tears with guys that you consider your brothers is a feeling you can't experience anywhere else. The other thing I like is it's not just a physical game. There's a huge mental side of the game. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like a game, but more like a chess match.
Q. What football player(s) did you idolize growing up?
A. Growing up, I was a huge Green Bay Packers fan, so I would say Brett Favre, originally. Charles Woodson, I guess would be the defensive back I've been a huge fan of as a Michigan fan.
Q. What has it been like to be a part of rebuilding Gulf Breeze's football program these last two years?
A. I think it's been awesome. As a freshman, seeing the varsity team go 0-10 wasn't ideal. Being a part of the varsity going 2-8, you could see us getting better. Last year we exploded on the scene and surprised some people. We're earning respect for Gulf Breeze football, and that's a great feeling.
Q. Earlier this year, you were named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, what did that feel like to get that news?
A. It was a great feeling. It was quite an accomplishment, something for me and my family to be proud of. I've been blessed with a lot of gifts and when I see the hard work I put in pay off, it's definitely a rewarding feeling.
Q. What do you take more pride in, your work in the classroom or your performance on the football field?
A. I'm not sure that I could necessarily put one above the other. I think so much of each has to do with the other. The character traits I've learned through being a football player -- hard work and dedication -- have helped in the classroom. The mental advantage I have has paid off on the football field.
Q. What teams do you want to see playing in the BCS title game? And who do you think would win?
A. I would love to see Alabama against Oregon. Alabama pretty much has an NFL defense on the field. They have an elite defense, and I'd love to see them against that high-octane offense. I think Alabama would win. I think they have too much talent.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. I enjoy watching football -- college and pro. Being out on the water is always fun. I like spending time with my family and friends.
Q. Who is the best player you've played against?
A. Andre Flakes from Milton. Those other two guys (Isaiah Jones and Dejon Funderburk) get a lot of attention and hype because they're seniors, but playing against Flakes, as a DB, he was great. He's hard to tackle, he's fast. Then watching him play defense, he's an aggressive safety. He can drop into coverage.