WVU Extends Offer to "Next Honey Badger" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Extends Offer to "Next Honey Badger"


Damian Nicholson was in class Thursday when his head football coach called him into his office.

West Virginia cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts had just gotten off the phone and had told Coach Brian Beaty that the Mountaineers wanted Nicholson for the 2013 season.

Finally, after all the hard work he had put in over the years on the field, Nicholson was getting his first offer.

"This is big," Nicholson said of the offer. "West Virginia is my dream school. I'm not going to commit this early, I'm going to keep my options open, but I really like West Virginia."

Nicholson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete capable of playing multiple positions at Osbourn Park High School (Va.), says Roberts made a comparison that he has grown familiar with over the past year.

He said he was like the Honey Badger, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu, the ball hawking defensive back who is deadly with the ball in his hands as a returner.

"That's what I do. I'm a playmaker; I make plays happen," says Nicholson. "A lot of people tell me I have [Mathieu's] integrity and how I play ball, I like to get stuff done. I'm smart on the field."

Those traits are what Roberts saw and why he decided the time was right to give Nicholson his first scholarship offer.

In his career, Nicholson has played just about every skill position from quarterback to receiver and running back offensively to safety, corner and rover on defense. He also returns punts and kicks.

As a junior, he says he racked up over 900 passing yards and 900 rushing yards while filling in for the season's starting quarterback, who went down with an ACL injury. He accounted for 28 touchdowns, and he hopes that he can do even better as a senior.

"I have high expectations for this year," he says. "I hope to progress in that, so hopefully over 35, 40 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards on both sides."

West Virginia wants Nicholson to play cornerback, following in the footsteps of some other successful quarterbacks to play defense for the Mountaineers like Keith Tandy and Brandon Hogan.

Following in Hogan's footsteps should be no problem, as the former Mountaineer went to Osbourn High just down the road and has been close to Nicholson from a young age.

"I'm basically related to him, that's a close friend of mine," Nicholson says of Hogan. "I've known him since I was in diapers. We played in the same football league growing up, so before he left for college I was really close with him."

Nicholson continued to watch Hogan as he played four seasons with WVU and now as he enters his second season as a member of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

He says he intends to visit Morgantown at some point over the summer to get a feel for the campus and lists proximity to home, academics and early playing time at the top of his determining factors when he ultimately picks a school.

But for now, he has one offer to choose from, and WVU's early interest could pay off in the end.

"It's really important because as everybody says, the first one is the hardest to get and then they all start piling in. I really like West Virginia as a school, though," says Nicholson. "It feels really good to know somebody wants you."

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