Ricky Nichols Welcomes The Challenge Of Being The Monarchs #1 Player
Dec. 15, 2008
On Oct. 1 of last year, cornerback Ricky Nichols of Maury High School became the first player to verbally commit to the Monarchs new football program. His #1 ODU jersey not only reflects this, but also his embrace of being one of the team's leaders, both on and off the field.
"I chose number one because I was the first person to commit, but also because it shows leadership," says Nichols. "When you're wearing that jersey you have to lead by example, by how you perform on and off the field. I look at the number one jersey as a responsibility of leadership."
Nichols, who also had offers from Akron, Temple, James Madison and Delaware, said his decision to attend ODU came down to the university's location, its academic reputation and the Monarch coaching staff.
"I chose to attend ODU because it was a chance for me play close to home where my family and friends would be able to watch me play," added the 5-foot-11, 175 pound Nichols. "ODU also has great academic programs which will help me be an all-around student-athlete. But the primary reason was the coaching staff. I got a good vibe from them during my visit. They made me feel at home."
Growing up in the Norfolk area, Nichols has seen a change in the mindset of the local community and the local high school football players who now see ODU as a viable option when it comes to continuing their career.
"A while back people were surprised when I mentioned ODU football," said Nichols. "Now that we are a little more established, players in the area are excited about the opportunity to play for Old Dominion. They can look at ODU as a first option where they can stay close to home and don't have to leave the area to start their careers."
Nichols showed flashes of things to come during the Monarchs fall practices. He possesses the ability to lockdown one side of the field from the secondary, and the aggressiveness to come up and support the run. Now both he and head coach Bobby Wilder hope he can build upon that heading into the offseason.
"Ricky made progress as a player throughout the fall," said Wilder. "Like all of our players, he is learning the demands of being a student-athlete. We have high expectations for Ricky that he was made aware of even before he verbally committed to Old Dominion. Being the first at any thing you do in life is always challenging. If he is willing to work hard every day, he could become a very good player for our team."