Two football recruits are starting their journey at Nichols College this month, but their connection to the school is intertwined with last February's school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
On that day, Tyler Goodman and Nick DeFroscia were in an athletic office inside Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, talking with football recruiters from Nichols College.
While they were talking with the recruiters, the gunman in the shooting opened fire.
"We heard a fire alarm very briefly, then a code red," Nichols College's Paul Brower said. "We knew pretty quickly something was serious."
The incident led to the group remaining in lockdown, ultimately surviving the incident.
Some close to the recruits, however, did not.
"I lost two friends," DeFroscia said. "I known them since just the beginning of high school, but I had classes with them every year. But we shared homework, we shared food, we were just good friends."
In the midst of the chaos, the recruits built a bond with those in the office with them, and their connection to Nichols College began.
"Anytime you're in a stressful situation like that, you know, you go through that experience together, you definitely get to know each other a little bit different," Brower said.
After the time spent together, both Goodman and DeFroscia decided to join the Nichols College Bisons. The two are roommates at the school and plan to remain as roommates for the duration of their collegiate careers.
Nichols College head coach Dale Olmsted said the decision worked out on all ends, with a seamless transition for the two freshmen.
"Outstanding, they really are," Olmsted said. "Honestly, they are fitting right in. You wouldn't know it was any different from any other kid."
However, the duo does have their differences, specifically when it comes to coping with the traumatic experience.
"I just try to push it away," DeFroscia said. "Just think about everything else but that."
On the other end, Goodman uses the tragedy to motivate him, wearing the number 17 to represent the number of lives lost that day.
"They're in my heart," Goodman said. "They're in my head, they're on my mind all the time."
Cox Media Group