Every year the Tar Heel State seems to produce some scary linebackers. No one in North Carolina is more frightening in pads on a Friday night than Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mt. Tabor linebacker Derek Nicholson.
“I picked up two new offers this week,” said Nicholson. “Miami and Oklahoma have offered me now. Those are two really big offers because they are two of the top program’s in the country. I think that puts the count somewhere around 35 offers.”
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, has a 340 pound bench press, a 450 pound squat and a 32-inch vertical jump.
“I don’t really have a favorite or even a top five or eight. Some of the schools on my list are North Carolina, Florida State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
I hope to be able to get it down to five by sometime in July. The reason for that is so I can concentrate on my senior season and getting graduated. The recruiting process is a lot of fun, but it can also be distracting so I have to keep it under control, by not leading schools on.”
Nicholson has started every single game on varsity so far in his career. He has recorded 476 tackles in only three years. His junior year he had 181 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, three interceptions, nine pass breakups, and three total touchdowns. His sophomore year he totaled 172 tackles (108 solo, 64 assists), two interceptions, three caused fumbles, four fumbles recoveries and 6 sacks.
“I have been getting a lot of phone calls from coaches. All the coaches have been telling me how I will fit into their system and what kind of impact I would make on their program. The one thing that I have liked about every conversation is that no coach has really mentioned a red-shirt to me, they all think I can come in and play right away.”
So have any of the many college coaches he has spoken with stood out?
“None have really stood out to the point where I would say ‘I like this coach best.’ They are kind of saying the same thing to tell the truth. If I had to name a coach or two that has made a really good impression it would be coach Steele from Florida State and coach Wilson from Oklahoma.”