Nicholson excels at Combine

MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Despite owning one of the larger offers lists in the nation, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor linebacker Derek Nicholson not only participated in every testing activity, he was the most enthusiastic player on the field on Saturday.

Over the past three years, the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Combines have seen a good bit of blue chip prospects skip out on testing activities – such as the forty-yard dash – to man the sidelines. Despite owning one of the larger offers lists in the nation, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor linebacker Derek Nicholson not only participated in every testing activity, he was the most enthusiastic player on the field this past Saturday.

Although not his best showing, Nicholson was able to produce a 4.63-second forty-yard dash time and a 4.50-second twenty-yard shuttle time. In the weight room, the 6-foot, 224-pounder was able to rep 215 pounds 14 times and vertical jumped 30-inches.

"I feel pretty solid about my day," remarked Nicholson, who feels confident that his name will be among the 44 on NC's Shrine Bowl roster. "I slipped on the shuttle, which made my time a little slower, but everything was pretty solid. It wasn't my personal best, but I think I didn't do bad. I didn't do outstanding, but I tried my best and went full speed and worked hard."

The aforementioned performance wasn't necessary, recruiting-wise, as new offers seem to present themselves just when Nicholson thinks he has reached the bottom of the barrel.

"Well as of yesterday, Oklahoma has offered," stated Nicholson. "I have about thirty to thirty-five offers now."

Besides narrowing his list down to his five favorites – which is slated for completion by the end of the summer – Nicholson is working hard with his team hoping to reach that final step they came oh so close to last season.

"Right now, I'm working out with the team and trying to get better as an individual, so to get our team back to the State Championship."

Last season, Nicholson's Spartans posted a 9-1 regular season win-loss record earning them the number one seed in the West playoff bracket. Mount Tabor then worked through the playoffs defeating stiff competition in North Davidson 28-21, Davie County 27-12, and powerhouse West Charlotte 28-3 only to be embarrassed by J.H. Rose in their inaugural State Championship Game 51-7.

Nicholson earned the Defensive Player of the Game award by leading the Championship Game in tackles by posting 14 (12 solo). Nicholson, who also was named to the AP All-State Team, concluded his junior campaign with 181 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, and three interceptions.

Inside Carolina Top Stories