The first days of college are an unforgettable experience and Tate Nichols is about as excited to report to Notre Dame as he has been his entire life. He won't need to wait much longer as the freshmen football players report on June 20.
"I'm excited to get up there and move on with everything," Nicholas said. "High school is getting kind of old at this point and I'm looking forward to that next step in life and moving on with everything. It's a very exciting moment in my life and I can't wait to get up there. It's just waiting to June 20 and getting up there.
"It's definitely the next step in my life. I'm looking forward getting away and being able to be on my own and start my own life. You obviously have to grow up and learn to do things on your own. It's the first taste of being an adult and not completely relying on your parents."
Although Nichols will be moving away from home, he does have family on campus at Notre Dame. Kyle Rudolph is Tate's distant relative and he's been staying in touch with the Irish tight end.
"The biggest thing Kyle's been able to do is show me around and let me know how things work," he said. "Fortunately, I knew him before and I've been able to build a relationship with him. Once I get up there I think his knowledge will be invaluable in terms of things to do and not do, who to listen to and who not to listen to; Just the whole lifestyle change of going from a senior in high school to being a freshman in college."
Nichols has already experienced quite a change over the past year. A year ago Nichols was a 245-pound tight end and when he gets to Notre Dame he'll be competing for a spot at offensive tackle.
"Basically I've just been working out and trying to get ready," Nichols said. "I'm right around 296-pounds right now. My weight has been pretty stable the last three or four weeks. I'm just getting stronger right now.
"The weight I put on was not bad weight, which was really fortunate. I've been working with a nutritionist, so I put it all on safely and healthy. It's not like I blew up and can't move. I feel that I can move just a good now as I did when I was 250-pounds."
"I went up and saw a practice, so I got to watch them play. I couldn't go to the spring game because I had prom that night," Nichols explained. "I talked to coach Warinner and coach Longo when I was up there. They weren't super concerned about what I weighed, they were more worried about my body fat being low, so I've been trying to keep that down. They sent me a packet about lifting and techniques that they use, so I've been following that pretty closely.
"The practices are really high-paced and it looks like it's a really fun offense to play in. Obviously being in shape is one of the biggest things. Coach Warinner is a good coach, so he's going to be fun to play for and I'm excited about it."
It's difficult for a freshman to know what to expect of the first couple months on campus, but Nichols wants to be prepared to compete from day one.
"Obviously from a competitive point you don't want to walk in out of shape," Tate explained. "If you're serious about it you're not going to go up there thinking you're not going to get a spot and you're not going to get to play. That's obviously a motivating factor for me. If you're in shape and come ready to play, you're going to get a chance to compete with everyone else. You can't compete for a spot if you're bent over trying to breath.
"The thing that I want is to come up there in shape and compete. In terms of my goals, I want to compete. I'm going to do everything to make the team better whatever it is."
Nichols Ready For Next Step
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