SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football’s Josh Nurse will be one of those remembered for his sense of humor and caring for others.
“He likes to find funny things to try to make other people laugh,” fellow corner Tré Strong said. “He’s a good guy to be around.”
That proved to be true in my one-on-one interview with him. His smile is contagious, and upon meeting him, he makes you feel like you’ve known him for a long time.
Nurse initially tried out for a spot at receiver at Utah before switching to safety and then corner. It was there that his relationship with Strong blossomed. The two defensive backs are now best friends who, without any hesitation, say they’d take a bullet for one another.
There’s not a short answer when asking either of them what they have in common.
In football, they have the same mindset regarding competition and enjoy watching film together. Sometimes they’ll trade the field for the basketball court to shoot some hoops. Other times they’re “chilling at the crib,” listening to their favorite music or playing video games.
“(Nurse) likes to play PS4 and I’m an Xbox guy,” Strong laughed. “That’s like the only difference we got.”
Just like any best friend, when Strong gets mad, Nurse knows just what to do to cheer him up. It’s not bringing him his favorite food or turning on a comedic movie. Instead, it’s his impersonations.
Nurse has been doing impersonations since he was 12 years old. He started them to try to get under his older brother and sister’s skin.
“You know when you’re arguing with somebody and eventually you mock them? I was pretty good at that, so I started doing impressions,” Nurse said.
While his siblings found it annoying, as he hoped, Nurse thought it humorous and kept practicing his talent. He began trying to imitate actors and viral videos on social media — Strong’s favorite. He’s even taken on mimicking his coaches.
“He’s really good at coaches, but he does this impression of Denzel Washington that’s pretty funny,” Strong said.
Nurse gets a wide array of requests to do impressions from his friends and teammates.
“I’ll try my best to do it,” he said.
With that sort of open invitation, under the pressure of being put on the spot, I asked Nurse to share an impression with me. He immediately took to impersonating Utah’s defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley. As if a switch was flipped, he went from smiling, bubbly Josh Nurse to a more serious Scalley.
His attempt made me laugh and verified that his best friend was right when he said that Nurse “likes to find funny things to try to make other people laugh.”
Nurses’ favorite part of his unique talent is the reactions he gets.
“Some people are amazed at how accurate I am and spot on with it,” he said.
“You’ll have a good time if you ever hang out with him,” Strong said.
And in that moment during our interview, I did. Nurse’s energetic, people-first personality was obvious in the moments I spent with him. If you see him on Utah’s campus or elsewhere in public, say hi and don’t forget to see if he’ll do a quick impression for you.