Many know Nikko Remigio as the former UC Berkeley and current Fresno State football player and superstar athlete. However, others may know him as a multi-instrumental musician or a calculating chess champion.
Remigio is a man of many talents, and his football skills as a star wide receiver barely scratch the surface of what he can do. The 23-year-old is a fifth year senior at Fresno State. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science at UC Berkeley in 2021.
Remigio and his two younger brothers were raised in an environment that encouraged different hobbies such as sports, music and chess. Nikko’s father, Mark Remigio, said it was important that each of his children gain different experiences and always learn new things.
With sports, Nikko’s mom, Jennifer Remigio, and Mark made sure their son was able to find his place wherever he was active. He was involved in football, baseball, soccer, basketball, rugby, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, surfing, snowboarding, track and other sports.
“When they were younger, we tried to maximize everything and tried to instill as many tools as we could while they were still pliable,” Mark said.
Nikko started playing football at the age of 4. Sports served a greater purpose for him. They taught multiple life skills, including teamwork, discipline, hard work and perseverance. The exposure to these different sports and activities allowed him to build his core values at a young age.
Jennifer said he always maintained an ability to be drawn to people and have people be drawn to him. Sports and the other activities allowed him to connect and interact with his peers in an “authentic” way, she said.
The “warrior culture” of football is what made Remigio gravitate to the sport, Mark said. Though athletics served more than just a support system, the Remigio boys were able to leverage their athletic abilities to get them into higher education.
“My parents, they set the guidelines for me on how to go about everything. Even when I was falling off the path a little bit, they had always given me that love and support I always needed,” Nikko said.
Jennifer and Mark also stressed the importance of their boys being well-versed in the arts. The boys were able to learn to play piano, guitar, and drums from either their father or YouTube videos. In elementary school, the boys were even chess champions. The pursuit of multiple interests helped drive Nikko and his brothers through adversity in their lives.
Jennifer said that, rather than football, music could have been an area where Nikko would have succeeded in and became stronger in. She recalled that when Nikko was in the seventh grade, he picked up the guitar and learned to play and sing for a talent show.
“He’s a pretty good little singer, and we have fun with it. Just like his diverse background, he loves all music,” Jennifer said.
Music and chess helped create the skills for Remigio to identify patterns and the ability to compartmentalize obstacles for a bigger picture. Remigio put these skills to use when he made the decision to transfer from UC Berkeley to Fresno State in January 2022.
Jennifer emphasized the importance of this decision for her son, and said she encouraged him to draft a pros and cons list. He was able to assess the many different reasons why Fresno State was a good match for him.
“I think that having him involved in so many things has helped him to be open to challenges and difficulties and stepping outside of his comfort zone,” Jennifer said.
Some major pros on Nikko’s list included the Bulldogs’ team dynamic; the opportunity to play with Football Head Coach Jeff Tedford and his team of coaches; and the Red Wave’s passion. Everything put together made the choice a “no brainer.”
“He’s always been calculating, and his thought process and ability to navigate the field and get some clarity [has been helpful],” Mark said.
Nikko’s cultural background has also played a hand in his success and his ability to navigate through life. Remigio is half Filipino, a quarter Black and a quarter white. His father said his diverse background has allowed him to resonate with different people and bring them together.
“It’s just a beautiful thing to learn and to know that you’re made up of so [many] great diversity and ethnicities and have so many great traditions. It helps them interact with other people and appreciate theirs as well,” Jennifer said.
Nikko said that as he grew up he felt a bit of an identity crisis in figuring out who he was and what his identity was. This served as an early experience of adversity in his life, but he was able to find himself in his identity.
Nikko had the chance to visit the Philippines before travel was limited due to COVID-19. The opportunity to visit another country outside of his Orange County home allowed him to gain a different perspective, Mark said.
“I think having to find ways to be confident in myself and not really seek anybody’s approval to be confident and be who I am [has impacted me]. It’s my makeup. It’s my mold. It’s the blueprint of who I am,” Nikko said.
Mark explained how unbelievably proud he is of his son and his triumphs. He placed many mantras in his kids’ lives, one being “it’s about the journey not the destination.”
In his time at Fresno State, Remigio has had several accolades from leaping over opponents and rushing for an 87-yard touchdown after receiving a punt return in the game against University of Connecticut. With the welcoming environment of the team, he’s found his way as a Bulldog.
Jennifer said that she hopes he continues to remain true to himself, and to “follow his heart and just enjoy.”
“It’s easy to get so caught up and get so serious, and so mundane, and so trapped. And it’s really about him enjoying this life,” Jennifer said. “Where he is at this moment, and staying present while he continues to prepare for his future.”