But what if I was to tell you that he’s got a younger brother – one still a freshman in high school – that could end up being just as big?
Well, it’s true. His name is Garrett Nickelson and he’s projected to be the starting left tackle for League City (Texas) Clear Springs this fall.
The younger Nickelson already checks in at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. Doctors say he has plenty of room to grow.
“I’m projected to be about 6-foot-6 but bigger in the shoulders [than Tristan],” he said. “I’ll probably be two or three inches shorter than him.”
Having that type of size as a 15-year-old is naturally going to attract attention. But Nickelson isn’t resting on his size alone to bring him success on the football field. He’s doing everything he can off of it to get to the level his older brother is at right now.
That includes having a speed and weight trainer that he sees weekly. The speed trainer is former NFL cornerback Reggie Rusk, who spent six seasons in the NFL beginning in the mid 1990s.
“The speed trainer I’ve had for two months,” he said. “When I started, my 40 was a 5.5 and now I’m down to a 5.3.”
His weight trainer is non other than Tim Swords, one of the top at his profession in the Houston area.
“He’s mainly been focusing in on my flexibility for the last three months,” Nickelson said. “Just making sure I can get down and out of my stance.”
Nickelson is hopeful that all of this hard work will pay off as he transitions from dominating the freshman level to hopefully doing the same at the varsity level.
He knows there are challenges ahead.
“I got to practice with the varsity during the playoffs so I got to see what it was like,” he said. “It is a lot faster and a lot better skilled guys than I ever saw at the freshmen level.”
The biggest test he thinks he’ll have is handling the speed of the defensive ends.
“It’s the same thing that Tristan is having to find out right now,” he said. “I’m trying to adjust to how fast these defensive ends are.”
Garrett is hopeful that his play over these next three years will earn him a scholarship from the Longhorns, his overall No. 1 school at the moment.
He’s familiarized himself with the program over the last year having gone to the 2014 spring game as well as going on a couple of visits with Tristan. He also attended a UT practice two weeks ago.
“Charlie Strong is doing a great job,” Garrett said. “He’s changed so much. They are just so dedicated and responsible.”
Nickelson said he’ll be back down for Texas’ camp in June and will also head to a TCU camp among others this summer.
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