The Opening: Nicholson Lays Out Timeline

Monroeville (PA) Gateway safety Montae Nicholson is still eyeing about a dozen schools, but with fall right around the corner he is beginning to think about which he will visit officially. GoBlueWolverine chatted with the Keystone State star at The Opening about the latest in his recruitment, his feelings about Michigan, his decision timeline, and more.

Sam Webb:  You came out here as a receiver.  You’ve been playing a lot of receiver out here of course.  Are you warming up to the possibility of doing more of that at the next level in college possibility?

Montae Nicholson:  “I’m not really sure.  It doesn’t really matter to me.  I’ve said this a million times, wherever I can get on the field the earliest than that is where I’ll be.  Most of my schools are recruiting me as a defensive back, but there are a few that are saying I can play both ways and some that recruit me as a receiver.  Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me, I just want to get on the field.”

Sam Webb:  Do you feel right now that you’re better at one of those positions as opposed to the other?

Montae Nicholson:  “Probably.  Probably defensive back because most of my training has been defensive back.  Working with my coaches and just honing in and trying to perfect that skill.  Wide receiver is just fun for me.  I just came out here to have fun really.  Receiver, I haven’t really worked on a lot, but DB is probably where I’m better at.”

Sam Webb:  I know you’ve made some big catches out there, but the biggest play that I saw you make was a \ big interception over the middle there.  Take me through that play and what happened.

Montae Nicholson:  “I’m an athlete on the team, so he put me in with the nickel and I was playing safety.  So I was kind of just standing on the hash, stand on the hash, I’m watching the quarterbacks eyes, watching the quarterbacks eyes and he is looking to his left, my right most of the time, glancing to the right but mostly left.  I look over to the receiver, look at the quarterback, see the receiver break and that is when I broke on the ball and the rest of it kinds of speaks for itself.”

Sam Webb:  Not only did you pick it off, but you took it all the way back to the house, right?

Montae Nicholson:  “Yes.”

Sam Webb:  I have asked you this question a million times and you’ve been pretty bland, pretty status quo.  Are you any closer to a group of favorites.  Are you any closer to naming some schools that stick out on your list?

Montae Nicholson:  “I have it unofficially narrowed, and like I said it is unofficial because I have not completely looked at it.   It is pretty much all the schools that keep in contact most.”

Sam Webb:  Who keeps in contact the most?

Montae Nicholson:  “Oregon, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Florida State, the U (Miami), Temple, Pitt, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, West Virginia.”

Sam Webb:  When we first started talking well over a year ago, there was there radius that was kind of mapped out for you on your list and it was four hours in any direction was deemed acceptable.  Lately you’ve been saying that four hours is not necessarily a strict rule.  I’m curious with mom standing by is that indeed the case.  Is fours no longer a limitation for you?

Montae Nicholson:  “Most likely not.  My mother and I have talked and she said wherever the best opportunity presents itself for me, she will be fine with it.  I don’t necessarily believe that but I’m going to take it and run with it.”

Sam Webb:  Moms don’t like their babies to go far away from home.

Montae Nicholson:  “Yeah I know, but we’ve had that talk and the best opportunity is where I’ll probably be.”

Sam Webb:  I know you’ve been to Michigan a number of times.  You mentioned at one time about the possibility of making it back over there for the BBQ.  Are you going to be doing that later this month?

Montae Nicholson:  “Hopefully, depending on when it is.  I do run summer track and I have regional and nationals to worry about.  So I try to practice but if the opportunity presents itself, my schedule presents an opening, I’ll probably be back down there.”

Sam Webb:  What do you think about Michigan at this point?  They are one of the older schools on your list.  There are a lot of new schools and new coaches that you’re getting to know now.  What do you think about the Wolverines at this point?

Montae Nicholson:  “It is pretty much the same.  The only thing that has changed is our relationship.  We’ve actually grown closer because like you said, they were probably the earliest schools to offer me, one of the earlier schools.  That has helped them a lot because I know most of the coaching staff.  Michael Ferns is a commit and I’ve played with him a few times up in Chicago.  I know a lot of people there and they make me feel comfortable.”

Sam Webb:  One of the things you’ve talked a lot about also is numbers at your position.  I know Michigan just picked up another DB and numbers in the class are kind of dwindling.  At one point you expressed a little bit of reluctance about where the class is going as far as how fast it is filling up and the positions that they were feeling.  How do you feel about that now and is that impacting how you think about Michigan?

Montae Nicholson:  “Depending on the numbers, if there is a lot then it probably will impact it a great deal, but if there are only a few, I’m not opposed to competition at all.  If we’re talking two or three, not a big deal.  I believe that I have the skill set, the mentality and drive to play.  If there are five or six or seven, then there is less of a chance for that set school.  Let me put it this way, the least the better.”

Sam Webb:  You told me you’re wide open, who does mom like?

Montae Nicholson:  “Who did she say…I think Penn State, Michigan, obviously Stanford.”

Sam Webb:  Stanford, really?

Montae Nicholson:  “Yes because of the education, even though it is further away.  For my mom, education is key.  Florida State and Georgia Tech for education as well.”

Sam Webb:  Big season ahead for you, new coach, a senior and I’m sure people will be looking to you in taking a leadership role.  Talk about that a little bit.

Montae Nicholson:  “It is not going to be a problem at all.  Our coach is new to everybody.  He actually looks to us to control the team and that is not going to be a problem at all.  We’re picking up steam fast with his playbook and everything.  We’ve got a new playbook, but it is not going to be a problem at all because the senior class has been together.  We know what it takes to be disciplined to get to the playoffs and most likely (the state championship).  It is not going to be a problem at all.”

Sam Webb:  When the season starts are you going to put recruiting totally on the backburner and wait until after the season to think hard about it or are you going to be taking visits all along the way?

Montae Nicholson:  “I’ll most likely take visits, but that will be in the back of my head, because it is such a big season.  Because this is the first season with a new coach and we need to stand our ground, come together as a team and can’t completely do that if I am worried about recruiting and my team.  My team deserves and needs my full attention.”

Sam Webb:  Talking to you before, you talked about the Notre Dame game as a visit day for Michigan is that still going to be the case for you?

Montae Nicholson:  “Most likely.  I’m not completely sure yet.  These visit things, I have no idea. (Edt note: At the conclusion of this interview Nicholson’s mother confirmed that he has an official to Michigan set for September 7th)

Sam Webb:  Do you think you are going to make your decision after the season… after the new year closer to signing day? When do you think you will make your decision?

Montae Nicholson:  “Towards the end of the season if not right at the end of the season, a little bit after.  Probably in that month window, maybe a month and a half.”

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