Universities from the Southeastern Conference have dominated college football — its athletes having won seven straight national championships from 2006 through 2012. But the last two years, the tides have changed with Florida State University, part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Ohio State University, part of the Big Ten Conference, as they won the last two college football national championship games.  

Nate Andrews (Florida State), a defensive back and sociology major, was a part of the national-championship-winning Seminoles team back in 2013 as a freshman. He says that playing in the big game was his favorite college football memory to the date. In that game, Andrews had four total tackles on the way to a 34-31 victory over Auburn. The upperclassman was recruited as a cornerback and wide receiver out of Fairhope, Alabama, by former Florida State Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Co-Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach Lawrence Dawsey.

“It was a blessing from the sky,” Andrews says about his experience playing football in Fairhope. “I had so many friends to support me. Overall, I had the best teammates and the best coaches to play for, even though I had two different high-school school coaches.”

The versatile athlete was rated a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports.com, which is associated with CBSSports.com. Andrews chose FSU because he wanted to play football there but more importantly because he thought it was a great school with great academics and was close to his hometown. He’s entering his junior year as a Seminole and is looking to remain a starter for the college football powerhouse in the ACC.

“I’m a leader now but not a vocal one. I’m just the guy who tries to do everything right both on and off the field so that the younger guys notice,” Andrews says.

Before Andrews chose the Seminoles, there were eight other football programs that wanted him, including Minnesota, Alabama, Louisville, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Tennessee, Houston and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In the end, he chose FSU, which may have been the best choice after joining Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the fall semester of 2014 when he was a sophomore.

The football star says he joined the Fraternity because of his friend, Caleb Diaz, whom he knew from his hometown of Fairhope. Andrews says Diaz, who was already a brother, introduced him to the other members and then introduced him to the Fraternity’s history this past year.

“Sigma Alpha Epsilon has meant a lot to me. Not only did I meet a lot of new people but I also have a group of brothers who will always be my brothers through thick and thin,” he says. “It’s unique because I can go anywhere in public, and the guys can know me as their fraternity brother instead of Nate, the football player.”

Andrews says he didn’t join a traditional African-American fraternity because the men at the Florida Beta chapter welcomed him and made him feel right at home.

“I came around a couple times, and the guys were just treating me right. They all just took me in, so I decided to join the brotherhood,” he says. As an African American, Andrews says he was disappointed in the SAE chapter at University of Oklahoma after their racial video went viral on March 7, but he is very proud of his chapter.

Andrews tweeted “I am a proud member of SAE at FSU” back on March 9, and to this day, keeps Sigma Alpha Epsilon in his Twitter biography. “I’m not mad at any of my brothers because they all treated me with respect since day one. They have never said or done anything to make me think they are racist,” he says.

In addition, Andrews believes the football team and the Fraternity have a lot of similarities because both are families, in his eyes.

“I’m lucky to be in a fraternity and to be on the football team because it’s like brotherhood and family put together,” he says. “It’s hard sometimes for me to hang out with my brothers because I’m always busy with football, though.”

The night Andrews was initiated into Sigma Alpha Epsilon, he said he felt nothing but true happiness. And once he graduates from FSU, he would love to be drafted into the NFL — especially by the Seattle Seahawks, which is his favorite team. But he says if the NFL doesn’t work out, he would love to be a coach some day. And regardless of what the future holds, Andrews will have his fraternity brothers’ backs no matter what happens.