Cavalier Corner

October 2012

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Just A Second-Year, Demetrious Nicholson Is The Most Experienced Player In The Secondary BY SHANE METTLEN years old and a couple of months removed from high school gradu- ation, Nicholson was asked to start at cornerback for the rebuilding Cavaliers. L Move ahead to the 2012 season and Nicholson is still young, just 19 and a second-year, but his stand- ing in the program has changed dramatically. Gone is All-American Chase Minnifield, who played op- posite Nicholson at the other cornerback spot before graduating and moving on to the pro ranks. Two other fourth-year starters were also lost from the 2011 starting secondary, leaving Nicholson as the most seasoned and experienced defensive back on the roster. Nicholson leads a group that's not short on size, speed or strength — just playing time at the college level. "Talent-wise, they are there," London said. "We have guys at cornerback and safety that have quicker opportunities to play. What's missing is the experience of playing defensive back in a game. That will come soon." So while the Virginia Beach product may have been given some leeway for rookie mistakes last season, this year the coaching staff expects him to lead by example. That's precisely what Minnifield and safeties Corey Mosley and Rodney McLeod did for Nicholson last year when Nicholson came in as a speedster who had a knack for finding the ball in the air, but was susceptible to getting burned from time to time. "I learned so much from them," Nicholson said. "The way they prepare, their work ethic through the summer. They never took a play off. They are the type of guys you look up to." Even in his first college game last year, where he recorded one of two interceptions in his debut sea- son, Nicholson displayed the kind of instincts that had coaches believing he could be a special player even before he arrived on Grounds. He finished his first season with a defensive philosophy intact, one he hopes to impart to his younger teammates. "Don't be scared to go make plays," he said. To that end, Nicholson has had ample opportunity already in his short Virginia career. He was on the field for more snaps than any other Cavalier de- fender in 2011, seeing action on 940 plays. He also finished fourth on the team with 60 tackles and led the Wahoos with eight passes broken up. But he knows he still has plenty of room for CAVALIER CORNER ◆ OCTOBER 2012 ◆ 35 AST YEAR, DEMETRIOUS NICHOLSON, ONE OF Mike Lon- don's prized in-state recruits heading into the Virginia coach's second season, was thrown to the metaphorical wolves. Just 18

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