South Florida Brothers Born for Football

By Becky Randel | Photography by DowntownPhoto/Fort Lauderdale

If you consider yourself a South Florida football fan, you’re likely familiar with the Bosa family. John Bosa was a former defensive tackle for the Dolphins, while sons Joey and Nick – both of whom played football at St. Thomas Aquinas – are on track to potentially become even bigger stars than their father.

These days, all eyes are on 20-year-old Joey, an All-American defensive end for Ohio State, a Gatorade spokesman at this year’s Super Bowl and a two-time winner of the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. Joey recently decided to forgo his final college season to go pro. His chances at this month’s NFL draft are more than good; ESPN’s Todd McShay selected Bosa as his top “mock draft” pick, while Hall of Famer and Ohio State alum Cris Carter recently tweeted that Joey is the “best player in this year’s draft.” Experts predict that he’ll likely make upward of $20 million no matter which team selects him.

While plenty of adolescents would revel in the fame and recognition of this process, Joey is entirely focused on the task at hand. Leading up to February’s Combine, where NFL scouts reviewed potential players over a four-day period, Joey worked out eight hours a day, seven days a week. “I don’t really focus on what everyone else says or what the noise is,” he says. “I just try to focus on what I can control – and that’s training and getting ready.”

Luckily, Joey has his father John (a first-round draft pick by the Dolphins in 1987) to walk him through the process. “It’s just nice to have someone who has been through it all and can help me every step of the way,” Joey says. He is also well-aware of the downside that can come with too much money too soon. “My dad and my mom are both going to make sure that I surround myself with the right people and make the right decisions.”

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This level of discipline and confidence likely came from Joey’s high school training. “Going to a school like St. Thomas with such a high level of athletes and coaches, other kids weren’t prepared like I was going into college,” he says. “I was pretty much game-ready once I got there.”

Brother Nick, a senior at St. Thomas who’s headed to his brother’s alma mater this fall, agrees. “At St. Thomas, you really have to work hard. It gets you ready for the next level for sure.”

The brothers play the same position and wear the same number on the field (97), and both list boating and beaching as their favorite ways to spend their free time. Joey also has a surprising passion for cooking. “My mom is an amazing cook, so I try my best,” he says. “I’ve been cooking a good amount over the last couple of years. It’s a process, but I’m slowly getting better.” He even cited chef Andrew Zimmerman as the coolest person he met at the Super Bowl.

Nick may be the sillier one of the two, saying, “My favorite hobby is eating!” (He loves mom’s cooking, too, but lists Anthony’s Runway 84 in Fort Lauderdale as his favorite restaurant). He credits football for bringing the brothers together. “When we played together in high school – his senior year, my freshman year – that’s when we became really good friends. It was cool; we won a state championship together.” Thanks to his big brother, he feels more than ready for the next step. “He’s showed me a bunch of stuff that I started working on this year so I could be ready to go once I get to Ohio State,” Nick explains.

As to how the brothers stay focused and motivated toward achieving their lifetime dream, Joey summarizes it best: “The chance to do something I love to do for a living and be retired by the time I’m in my late 20s or early 30s… That’s the goal.”