Notre Dame picked up another verbal commitment over the weekend when former Stanford commit Tate Nichols decommited from the Cardinal and gave his pledge to Brian Kelly and the Irish. Nichols visited South Bend this past weekend without a scholarship offer, but was quick to accept once Kelly extended one to the Kentucky native.
Nichols (6-7, 278) played mostly tight end in high school, but will make the transition to offensive tackle once he arrives at Notre Dame – a move that he would have had to make almost anywhere he attended. He originally committed to Stanford last spring but he recently opened up his recruiting and was receiving attention from BCS schools such as Michigan, NC State, and Illinois before visiting Notre Dame and becoming the second verbal commitment since Kelly took over the Irish in December.
Nichols told Irish Illustrated that the most impressive aspect of his trip to Notre Dame was the Basilica.
“The most impressive thing we saw was probably the Basilica,” Nichols said. “That was just incredible. I’m Catholic so it was obviously something that was unbelievable. Another thing was the game day locker room. Seeing the signs on the wall and all the national championships and the speech that the Gipper gave when he was on his death bed, that whole experience was just unbelievable.”
While Nichols doesn’t bring a lot of “stars” with him from the various recruiting services, he is a prospect with a high ceiling that could turn out to be a very nice addition to this class with some time in the program. He’ll be learning a new position so it’s unrealistic to expect any big contributions from Nichols very early in his career, but if he can pick up the blocking schemes of new offensive line coach Ed Warinner and put in the work in the weight room with strength and conditioning coordinator Paul Longo, he has some very nice potential down the road.
One of the biggest problems with the Irish offensive line over the last few years has been a lack of mobility from the tackles. Recruiting a high school tight end with the frame to develop into a tackle is one way to combat that problem. Here’s a little video of Nichols from his senior year playing mostly tight end.
Nichols gives Notre Dame three commitments from recruits who had previously been committed to Standford this year. Early enrollees Chris Badger (safety) and Tai-ler Jones (wide receiver) were also Stanford commitments at one time. Nichols is also the second offensive line recruit in this class along with Christain Lombard.
Notre Dame is also still actively recruiting offensive tackle prospects Seantrel Henderson and Matt James.