One of the reasons this kid has stayed under the radar is that he didn't ball his freshman year. Instead, he attended a boys and girls prep school. And when he put the eye-black and shoulder pads on as a sophomore for the Westbury Rebels, the kid got his feet wet by playing linebacker, a mentality he carried over to the QB position his junior season. His head coach George Campbell told IT, "Mike still wants to get out there on defense as a linebacker so he can hit somebody".
"I just like to hit people," Mike Nichols told IT. "I can take hits and give hits with the best of them. The quarterback position allows me the opportunity to be physical on every play and that's why I love playing it."
Defensive backs beware. If your linebackers are unable to coral the 6-4, 220-pound dual-threat QB who's looking to leave tread marks on the face of any and all would-be tacklers, well, you better bring plenty of pop because this kid runs with a purpose. Moreover, you better getcha some help because he's seldom dropped by one defender. Gang tackle is the theme of the day when opposing teams meet Westbury.
"Most people don't think I'm that fast," Nichols explained. "But when they (opponents) see a 6-5, 230 pound QB coming right at them they have a decision to make. Either get out of the way or get run over."
IT has the kid listed at 6-4, 220, 4.6/4.7. His coach said he's up to 6-4.5, 225 and can run a 4.6 forty. Nichols said he's up to 6-5 and 230 pounds now. Regardless, he plays the QB position with a 'backer mentality and loves contact. When you combine that with his coach stating Nichols can sling the pigskin 70 yards, not only do you pay attention, but you see something special in the making if he masters the art of reading defenses, accuracy, touch and the proper throwing mechanics. Kid's a QB coach's dream.
We'll look at the stats Nichols had in his first full year under center and a lot more in Part 2 of the Nichols report.