USF Class of '09 Q&A: Ivan Nicholas

Read this exclusive interview with USF class of '09 defensive back Ivan Nicholas. Find all about the Robert E. Lee standout and brother of former Bull great Stephen Nicholas. Also find out what type of a player he is, what his nickname will be, and much more. Stay informed with

Ivan Nicholas Profile  How have things been going for you this spring?
Ivan Nicholas: Everything been going good, I've just been concentrating on school and working out. I didn't participate in track this season so I could focus on school, and working out.

USFN: What are you doing to stay in shape, you been using the Bulls strength and conditioning book?
Ivan: I was working out with the team, than starting using the book. It's a real good book. Coach Mac has some good stuff in there, things I wasn't used to doing.  

USFN: What are your current height, weight and 40 yard time?
Ivan: Right now I'm 5'11 and weigh 192, last year I played around 183. I don't feel that different with the extra weight, I still feel fast. I haven't run a 40 in awhile, but last time I ran a 4.5. I feel like when I have to run to catch somebody, something else kicks in. I can't explain it, but I get a lot faster.

Do you feel like you've gotten stronger?
Ivan: Most definitely, I'm stronger all around. I'm benching around 315, squatting around 420, and clean and jerking 225.

USFN: Have you been to USF since you've signed?
Ivan: I have been to Tampa, but haven't really been to the Campus in awhile. I went to the super bowl with my brother Stephen. I did watch them a lot on TV, and also went to a few games during the season.

USFN: How did it feel to be sitting in the stadium with brother who did so well there?
Ivan: It feels good and I can't really explain the feeling, but I do know one thing, and that there are some big expectations on me. He's my brother, and now I got to go in there and just try to make plays and make something happen.

USFN: Which coaches at USF made an impact on you during our recruitment?
Ivan: Coach Leavitt had the biggest impact on me. He's a great coach and a great guy. Coach Douglas, and coach Burnham also came around a lot, but they're not going to be coaching there anymore. I did get to talk with the new DB coach, he's a cool guy and he told me good things.

USFN: What type of defense did you guys play at Lee?
Ivan: We played a lot in a 4-4. They brought me down in the box a little bit as an outside linebacker, a cover guy, bandit and stuff like that. I played everywhere on defense, corner, linebacker, safety, you name it, I played it. I was strong enough and fast enough to play a lot of different positions.

USFN: Did you play any offense in high school?
Ivan: I played a little offense. They threw me at FB, wing and on the edge for a few plays, but I didn't mess with it too much.

USFN: After playing multiple positions, what are the Bulls recruiting you for?
Ivan: They've been talking to me about playing strong safety, and outside linebacker. It'll depend on where they'll need me the most.

USFN: What are some of your strengths as a player? 
Ivan: I'd have to say my ability to make tackles, especially open field tackles. It's one thing I do very well, and have no problems doing. I can bring them all down. That and my ability to cover ground.

USFN: Is there anything that you would like to work on as a player?
Ivan: The main thing I've been working on everything, getting bigger and stronger mostly, but working on all the fundamentals to.  

USFN: I Has your brother been helping you out training and giving you pointers?
Ivan: Yeah he helps me. He actually wants me to come up there and work out with him. I'm definitely going to go up and train with him and that will be good.

USFN: Do you know any of the current players on the Bulls?
Ivan: I know the player that was my host, Tyson Butler and he was a real cool guy to hang with. I also know Charlton Sinclair Alonzo McQueen but he transferred.

USFN: How about guys coming in your class, do you know any of them?
Ivan: Yeah I know Sam Barrington, we're cool and all, but when we played against each other it's a different story. It's a football game and it's a sport, so we play to win. We won that game, but we talked about it and it doesn't mean anything. He did his thing, and I did my thing.

USFN: Do you have a favorite move or moves you like to use? 
Ivan: I love to blitz, blitz me and let me come at you. That's my favorite thing. I feel like it's letting me off the leash to get them. I like it when coach says just go get them, and I do.

USFN: Is that how you got so many sacks last year? 
Ivan: That's one of the reasons, but after they found out what my name was they ran away from me. But during my 10th grade year, before they knew me, I was all over the place. But now that they know me, I still can make things happen though.

USFN: What is your favorite thing to do while playing defense
Ivan: My favorite thing to do on the football  field is to make big plays, any kind of a big play, interceptions, forced fumbles, anything big. That's how I look at it, just make something big happen.

USFN: Is there a certain offense that you like to see when you step on the field? 
Ivan: I look at the formations to get an idea of what they're going to run, but I like to see them in a goal line package, because I know they're going to come. If they're in goal line or a run formation and are going to try me, than I'm going to do my thing, and they're not going to be able to get anywhere. Nobody was able to run on us, the only thing they could do was throw.

USFN: Do you have a memorable moment while playing defense?
Ivan: My most memorable moment was scoring my first touchdown. I sacked the quarterback, forced the fumble, scooped up the football, and ran 65 yards for a score.

USFN: Is there a player on another level, college or pro that you model your game after?
I really don't know. At safety I like Ed Reed. I like the way he plays and he's so effective. At linebacker, I have to say my brother Stephen. He works hard, real hard.

USFN: Since you and your brother look alike, and talk alike, do you a nickname developing?
Ivan: Man I don't mind nicknames, but I didn't want to be called ‘Baby Snake', But Pat St. Louis started calling me that, and I was like man now I got ‘Baby Snake already. It's okay though, I'll work for my name.

USFN: Have you been thinking about getting a USF jersey and hanging next to your brothers?
Ivan: Yeah I have, and they been asking be about my number, and I like to be number 9, but Sam Barrington also wears No. 9. So we'll see what happens.

USFN: Do you have any thoughts on if they ask you to redshirt?
Ivan: If they do then they have a purpose and a reason for it., but we haven't really talked about that, or now their plans.

USFN: Any feelings on being part of USF's first top-25 signing class?
Ivan: I feel good about that. I know there's going to be a lot of talent on the team, and that's always big for a program. I think big things are in store. When a lot of people talk about Florida teams, they mention FSU, Florida, but it's gonna change. This is going to be our time to rise up. I'm excited to see what this team can do. 

USFN: How are you doing in classroom?
Ivan: It's a big improvement, and that was my main focus this spring. I kind of slowed down in everything else to get that going. That was the most important thing. Going into this report card, my GPA is at 2.8. In my Sophomore year it was like 3.3, than I went through some things and it dropped during my junior year to like a 2.3, but now it's back up. That's why I didn't compete in track.

USFN: With your latest placement score, how close are you?
Ivan: I got a composite of an 18.  My math score is like a 25 and that's good, but my reading was a around a 17. They told me that my score was okay, but my grades have to be up to par. And if I keep my grades up, then I'll be good.  I'm just going to keep working, that's all I can do, but I think I'll make it.

USFN: What teams are you most looking forward to playing against?
Ivan: I'd have to say Florida State and Miami as well.  Actually all the Florida teams are going to be big, because I know a bunch of players that I went to a school with or played against, so we all know each other. So that's going to be fun with a lot of action going on.

USFN: Do you play special teams also?
Ivan: I play all special teams, kick return punt return coverage, and actually one of my touchdowns was off of a punt block. I blocked a punt and scored to win the game for us.

USFN: What are you going to do to stay in shape before you get to Campus?
Ivan: I work out every day at the gym, using the conditioning book and run, so I'll just keep doing that.

USFN: Have you been recruiting for USF with guys in your area?
Ivan: I talked with a few players I know. There's one dude, a track guy that plays some football. He going for a track scholarship but is going to try and walk on for football. I'll keep spreading the word around here.

USFN: What do you plan to accomplish while here at USF?
Ivan: I First I want to get there. Than I don't know. I have some pretty big shoes to fill, and I want to do it well. I want to go in there and make plays and just make things happen. 

USFN: Are you excited to get to campus?
Ivan: I'm very excited, and can't wait. This is a big thing for me, but my brother Stephen says will come by so quick not to rush, because before you know it, it's done. I'm supposed to be down there June 24th, and I'm looking forward to that.

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