Nicol looking to make it pay

SEATTLE - Cory Nicol has always been close to the Tuiasosopo family in Woodinville. But when the 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back was looking to get recruited by the University of Washington, nothing was there - even though half of the Pac-10 had inquired about his availability. Then he met Mario Bailey.

Bailey, Head Coach at Franklin High and former Husky receiver, saw Nicol play up close and personal in a playoff game during Nicol's senior season. "He came up to me and asked me who was looking at me," Nicol told Thursday. "I told him Washington wasn't and he said that he was going to try and change that.

"That's the closest I ever came to Washington."

Until now.

In truth, there may have been some very good reasons why Washington hadn't looked at Nicol earlier. During his junior season he broke his foot and during his senior campaign he tore his MCL in his knee. Because he was a predictor out of high school, Nicol decided to go the junior college route with the idea of having one great year and then leaving to go to play Division-1 football.

He ultimately chose Orange Coast College with teammate Dave Ronning - who now plays at Portland State. "I had a good year, and a lot of big time schools were contacting me," Nicol said. Florida, Southern Mississippi, Kentucky, Nevada and Arizona State were just a few of the colleges inquiring about Nicol's availability, but because of his previous high school injuries, every school wanted to see him play both years in JC before transferring up.

There was also one other factor - his current injury at the time. "The very last game of the sason, I suffered a groin injury," he said. "It got misdiagnosed a couple of time, but finally by the summer of 2006 they figured it out and had me go out to Philadelphia to have surgery. There's only one guy in the country that does the surgery, it's so specialized."

So Nicol had the surgery in September of last year and redshirted his second season at OCC. "I could have stayed at OCC, and that might have been my best move, but I'm hard-headed and I wanted to get out of there with three years to play three."

And so he opened things back up, and for a while early this year it appeared as if Boise State was going to be Nicol's next home. "In the spring I went out to visit and everything was cool, but in the end I really could just picture myself closer to home at Washington. That was the biggest thing."

The competition at defensive back didn't hurt either. "Boise State recruited me harder, but they were pretty deep at defensive back. Washington's situation is very appealing. This is a good situation.

But I'm still a walk-on."

With Washington currently eight under their maximum number of scholarships available (85), Nicol certainly stands a chance - and with the news Wednesday night of Jordan Murchison's trouble with the law - the path toward playing time just became even that much easier for Nicol. But he's not going to wait for things to happen. He's going to take what he can get by working hard and making plays.

"I have ball skills and I'm fast," he said, when asked about his game. "I'm trying hard to learn the defense. It's a lot more sophisticated than what I've seen before. I'm staying up on it, though - taking it one day at a time, doing whatever I can to help the team."

Right now the Huskies are looking at Nicol at corner, as a nickel back, and also either at gunner or destroyer on special teams - whatever it takes to earn one of those coveted scholarships.

And just like everything else that's happened to Cory Nicol on the football field - it may take a little while than desired. But it will happen.

Just ask Mario Bailey. Top Stories