A dream come true

Though 2010 linebacker commitment Jake Nicolopulos has one more season before he dons the orange and white for Clemson, he's excited about one last season of wearing black and gold for T.L. Hanna HS in Anderson.

LB Jake Nicolopulos Profile

This summer, the Yellow Jackets have been working out four days a week, participating in 7-on-7 passing leagues and looking forward to a deep run in the AAAA Division II playoffs.

"Everybody has just been working on their skills, trying to get better," Nicolopulos told CUTigers.com in a recent interview.

Outside of organized school activities, he's has been working out with a personal trainer to improve his speed agility, 40 and lower body strength.

"That's where I need to improve—my flexibility," he said.

Nicolopulos has put on 10-15 pounds and is up to 240. Standing at 6-foot-1, the extra weight won't slow him down—he said he's faster.

This year, he'll be manning the middle of Hanna's 3-5 defense at middle linebacker. There, he'll be stuffing holes on the line and working sideline to sideline. Offensively, he'll line up at tight end and wide receiver.

"Even though I'll be playing defense at Clemson, I like playing offense too," Nicolopulos said.

The No. 21 middle linebacker in the country and rated with three stars according to Scout.com, Nicolopulos thought back to that "unbelievable" night when he was offered by the Tigers.

"I was just kind of waiting for Clemson to pull the trigger. When they did, I just jumped on it," he said.

For a while, there was concern that he wouldn't garner an offer from Clemson. But when defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was hired, things changed.

"I was so excited. I didn't think I was going to get it," Nicolopulos said.

Though California, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Kentucky have offered him, Nicolopulos has no interest in looking outside of Clemson.

A Tiger fan his entire life, Nicolopulos is excited about the opportunity to play in Death Valley on Saturdays in the fall.

"I think other schools know now that I'm pretty strong on Clemson," he said.

Last season, Nicolopulos had 120 tackles, nine for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one sack and three pass break-ups.

He is currently ranked as the No. 21 middle linebacker prospect in the nation by Scout.com.

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