"Mason is a kid who has given up his body for his team," said Saia. "He was a slot guy as a sophomore and he was really effective.
"He has great hands and good speed. He is 20-0 as a high school football player."
In addition to being a team guy who knows how to win, Nickens appears to be a solid athlete who can contribute at multiple positions.
"He played quarterback for us last year, but he won't be recruited for that," said Saia. "He'll be recruited as an athlete.
"We have some film on him to show that, but he is doing what's best for the team."
The success of the Griffin offense will center around Nickens's ability to distribute the ball and use his own athleticism to move the chains.
"As Mason goes, we go," said Saia. "He's another running back on the field which is tough to account for.
"He threw the ball well at the end of the year and we're counting on him to do that this year.
"We have three receivers that can really play, so we need him to get the ball to them."