Arndt, a current redshirt junior from Martinsburg, W.Va., continues a long line of primarily in-state talents who have been awarded the honor. The Nickolich Award, given for walk-on excellence by the Blue & Gold News, was established in 1991 and named for former WVU player and Fairmont, W.Va. native Tommy Nickolich, who was diagnosed with cancer and passed away before his junior season with the Mountaineers in 1983.
Arndt, a 5-11, 200-pound linebacker, has played in 22 career games and is slated at the third-team Mike slot behind Jared Barber and Al-Rasheed Benton in an exceptionally deep unit of linebackers. Arndt played in all 13 games last season, mainly on special teams, and was named the special teams champion in the game at Oklahoma State. He saw as many as 23 snaps in a game, that coming against Towson, and nearly matched that in the Liberty Bowl loss to Texas A&M with 21 plays. Arndt finished with a dozen tackles, with nine solo stops, and tallied four in the bowl defeat. He had his first career forced fumble against Kansas State.
As a freshman in 2013, Arndt earned WVU Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors, as well as being named the scout team champion against William and Mary. He had five tackles that season, including two solo in an overtime win at TCU. Arndt was also an All-Big 12 Academic first team honoree. When he redshirted in 2012, Arndt was named scout team champion for the first time, that coming against Oklahoma State.
At Martinsburg High, Arndt helped lead the Bulldogs to a 28-0 record and two Class 3A state championships as a junior and senior. He was a two-time state championship game MVP and named all-state first team as a senior when he led team in tackles for loss with 15. He also returned interception 97 yards for touchdown against Morgantown and led team with 959 yards rushing while scoring 22 touchdowns.
|PAST NICKOLICH AWARD WINNERS|