December 6, 2010

Nicholas finds fit at Ole Miss

Ivan Nicholas had an idea of what to expect when he showed up for his official visit at Ole Miss Friday.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound safety from Brooklyn (ASA College), N.Y., grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., and was a verbal commitment to South Florida two years ago. What surprised Nicholas during his weekend in Oxford, however, was the comfort level he felt with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.

"I liked the program," Nicholas said. "I liked the fact that I could play in that type of conference. When I sat down with Coach Nutt, the conversation I had with him was nice. I liked the way he was running his program. I wouldn't mind playing for him."

Nicholas committed to Ole Miss Sunday, choosing the Rebels over North Carolina. He is expected to challenge for immediate playing time in the spring.

"As a mature player or whatnot, I should be effective in the scheme," Nicholas said. "(Nutt) was letting me know I should come in and fit in perfectly. It's kind of what I expected. It's a Division I program in the SEC. It's a college environment I expected. It was nice. It was real nice."

Nicholas said the Rebels' coaches were "excited" when he told them he planned on accepting their scholarship offer.

"There were smiles," Nicholas said. "(Nutt) had one. I had one. It was a moment. I gave him my word. It's the place I want to be."

Still, Nicholas said he "not quite sure" he was completely finished with the recruiting process. Nicholas said last week Florida was talking to him, but the home-state Gators haven't offered.

"I'm going to sleep on it," Nicholas said when asked if he was still entertaining overtures from Florida and others.

Nicholas is hopeful he'll have his ASA College teammate, defensive tackle Gilbert Pena, with him when he reports to Ole Miss in mid-January. Pena visited Ole Miss last weekend as well and the Rebels appear to have a sizable lead over Kansas State, where Pena is visiting today, and Florida State, which will receive an official visit from Pena this weekend. Junior college prospects who graduate in December can begin signing letters-of-intent on Dec. 15.

"It would be big to have Big Gillie with me," Nicholas said. "He has situations going on. I talked to him. I told him how I felt. I'm pretty sure he liked it there, too. It's his decision - his and his mom's."

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