Nicolas played offensive and defensive line at SoCal power Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., and was a three-star prospect according to Scout.com coming out of high school in 2004. He chose Notre Dame over reported offers from Ohio State, UCLA and Arizona State.
Nicolas is the seventh Golden Domer to transfer from the program since spring practices, which were the first team practices under new Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. One source close to the situation said Nicolas and other transfers left because of the stark personality differences between Weis and his predecessor Ty Willingham.
Nicolas was looking at transferring to either UCLA or Colorado, and chose the Buffs. Nicolas, who was listed at 6-3, 277 pounds by Notre Dame, is expected to compete on the interior defensive line.
If he's good enough, Nicolas could compete for a starting spot in the spring and fall. CU is scheduled to graduate three of its four d-lineman in the two-deep roster, including James Garee, John Guydon and Vaka Manupuna.
Nicolas' high school, Mater Dei, is a storied program. Bruce Rollinson has been Mater Dei head football coach since 1989, and has compiled a 155-38-2 record in that span, winning five CIF Division I titles and two national championships, as well.
Here's what Rollinson had to say about Nicolas on Thursday afternoon:
"(Colorado is getting itself) one of the top football players from Orange County. An all-state player. You name the award, he won it.
"I've said this publicly many times when he played for me, I put him in that top five percent of the great players that I've had the opportunity to coach. He was a force on both sides of the ball.
"Not just is he a great player, he's a good student and he's a heck of a character kid. This is one of those that you say, ‘I would hope my daughter meets one like this in college and marries him.'
"(Defense) was his passion in high school. He played quick (offensive) tackle for us because he had such great feet and unbelievable foot speed when we ran the counter series. He's obviously the strongest player that we had for two years. But when he teed it up on defense, you knew that his passion was there. He always gave an exemplary effort on offense, but he ran sideline to sideline on defense."