Grading Little Brother

Florida State linebacker <b>A.J. Nicholson</b> continues to make a favorable impression this spring. The Seminoles held a half-scrimmage Wednesday as spring drills wind to a close. Nicholson's younger brother Derek, of course, is quickly becoming a household name in prep recruiting circles. A.J. talks about his little brother in this update.

Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson is never satisfied. Take Wednesday, for instance.

The Seminoles held a half-scrimmage and the defense held the upperhand over the offense for the most part.

The defense stopped the offense seven of eight times during goal-line drills and registered three interceptions during the scrimmage.

Even FSU coach Bobby Bowden applauded the defensive unit's peformance, pointing to the strength of the linebacking unit.

"I think the strongest part of our football team righht now (is the linebackers), not only the starters but the depth," Bowden said. "They are a very solid group. If we were that sound everywhere, we'd be pretty doggone good."

Nicholson, who is known for his wide grin and unbridled passion, says the unit is far from satisfied.

"We are all doing well, improving every day. That's what we need to do -- improve every day," Nicholson told TheTerritory. "You can never stop improving. There's always something wrong. But everything is cool. Everything is alright."

Of course, everything is cool and alright concerning Nicholson's little brother, Derek Nicholson, who is considered one of the nation's top prep linebackers.

The 6-foot-1, 2228-pound Nicholson, from Winston-Salem Mount Tabor, N.C., is coming off an incredible junior season where he has 181 tackles, 27 for loss and 10 sacks.

Nicholson also had three picks, with two going back for scores and added another defensive touchdown with a fumble recovery.

"Derek is very smart. He knows the game," A.J. said of his brother. "He does the extra stuff, the little stuff that makes you better. He's going to be one of those franchise players -- as well as his older brother (laughing). He's good and he's blessed."

Derek Nicholson does not list a favorite, but just about every big school nationally has shown interest.

Offers from Clemson, North Carolina State, Florida State Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia and North Carolina are on the table. The list also includes Mississippi State Wake Forest and several aothers -- 17 in all, in fact.

A.J. says he will help advise his brother if asked.

"I will let my brother do what he wants to do. Of course I would like him here,"A.J. said grinning.

"But he also likes a lot of other places. He's going to take his trips, have his fun and then decide when it's time."

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