The chase is still on to find a suitable defensive back for safety depth and while Coach Meyer will continue pursuing '13 S Vonn Bell, there's no need for the staff to put all their eggs in one basket. Instead, Ohio State can begin looking to the class of 2014, where plenty of uncommitted talent roams the gridiron.
2014 ATH Montae Nicholson is one option the Buckeyes have on their radar. The 4-star prospect plays safety, cornerback and wide receiver for his high school team. Nicholson has already grabbed some attention from top programs and has scholarship offers from West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas Tech, Penn State and more teams are actively communicating with him. Nicholson was also recently named to the 2014 Army All-American team, which is a high honor for the top athletes in the country.
This past season, Nicholson had 28 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. The two interceptions Nicholson picked off were returned all the way for touchdowns, showing off his speed and vision. On the offensive side of the ball, Nicholson continued to have his way, adding 25 receptions for 653 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
Checking in at 6'3", 200-pounds, the long, rangy Nicholson could be a very nice addition to Ohio State's class of 2014. Nicholson brings skills on both sides of the ball, which is something Coach Meyer has stressed when trying to fill out his future team. Nicholson is ranked as the third best player in the state of Pennsylvania, 15th-best as a safety and 183rd overall according to 247Sports. Nicholson also has outstanding speed, being clocked at 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, something that is vital for both receivers and defensive backs.
We recently spoke with Nicholson to get his thoughts on Ohio State, his junior season as a whole and what it felt like to be named an U.S. Army All-American:
What are your thoughts on Ohio State right now?
I have always been a fan of Ohio State, because I was born in Columbus. I think they have a great coaching staff and a really great program.
You went to the Miami (OH) game in September. Tell us what that was like for you.
It was a great experience for me, I really enjoyed it. The crowd was exciting and the stadium was alive. There were former Gateway (Nicholson's high school) players on both sides so it was a proud moment to see that game.
Did you hang out with any of the current players? Do any of them try and get you to come to Ohio State?
No, I really haven't had too much contact with any of them so far.
Have you spoken to fellow recruits about going to Ohio State?
No, not really. It's kind of hard for me because there aren't any of them in my area.
Have you spoken with any of the coaching staff recently? What have they talked to you about?
I just talked with the coaching staff not too long ago. They mainly just talked about how they were looking forward to getting me back at Ohio State and really wanting me to make a commitment to OSU.
How did your season go from a personal standpoint? Did you meet any of your goals that you might have set for yourself?
It was alright, but it could have been better. There's always room for improvement, so it's something I'm working on every day. I did meet some of my goals, though, like making the Post Gazette Fab 22, getting on the all-conference team and first team all-state.
Do you currently have any favorites that have stood out?
No, I don't have any current favorites right now. I'm still looking around, trying to decide which school is best for me.
What's the timetable on making your decision?
Right now, I'm looking to make my decision at some point in my senior year. Beyond that, I'm not too sure.
What are the biggest factors when making your decision?
Academics are extremely important to me, but the connections I have with the coaching staff is a big part too. A good football program is always good, so that's pretty important as well.
Are you planning on taking any more visits to Ohio State?
Well, all of the visits that I've taken have been unofficial. I do plan to get back to Ohio State some time soon, but I'm not sure when that may be.
What are your biggest strengths as a defensive back?
My speed and size are probably my biggest strengths, because I can cover a field quickly and can have a height advantage over wide receivers that line up against me.
Is there anything you can improve on?
I can always improve on understanding opponents' strengths and weaknesses.
How does it feel to have been named to the 2014 U.S. Army All-American team?
I feel truly blessed that God has given me an opportunity to play with such athletic and talented players as well as knowledgeable coaches that will be with us.
Check out what Nicholson brings to the football field in his highlight video: