PCHS’ Isaac Nickson impresses scouts at San Antonio combine

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

The football season for the Pike County Bulldogs may have ended on Nov. 15 with a loss to Bayside Academy in the second round of the AHSAA playoffs, but, for current junior defensive tackle Isaac Nickson, every day is a work day.

Nickson was recently invited to represent the Pike County Bulldogs at the US Army National Combine for high school football prospects in San Antonio, Texas. Nickson said it was one of the greatest experiences of his life.

“It was a great experience,” Nickson said. “I got the chance to compete against the best prospects in the country. It was an honor to be included among the best. When you go up against those physical prospects, you see how much work you still have go do. You have to be the best you can be for yourself—not the best you can be for other people. It was a great learning experience.”

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San Antonio is a town of around 1.4 million people. Brundidge has a population of just over 2,000. This fact was not lost on Isaac.

“The best part about San Antonio was seeing all the differences between a small town and a major city,” Nickson said. “It’s a major step for me. It made me realize all the world has to offer.”

Isaac’s trip to San Antonio was made possible through a grant from the Ray Lewis Foundation. “I went down to a camp hosted by Ray Lewis in Miami,” Nickson said. “Out of 500 people there, Ray chose me to send to the combine. I was just glad to work out with him. I had no idea I would be getting an award. Mr. Lewis set me up to go to the combine. He worked it out with my mom. My brother and sister helped a lot too. Even though we had some tough times getting there, everything worked out.”

Nickson said he was pleased with his overall performance at the combine. “I was happy with my stats,”

Nickson said. “In fact, I was pretty amazed at how much I competed. All the major, top recruits in the country were there. For me to come up there and show my talent is such an honor.”

Now that he has experienced the combine, Nickson has his eyes set on playing in the US Army All-American Game next year. “Now my focus is preparing for the game next year,” Nickson said. “I have been doing a lot of off-season workout. I go the gym; I run; I train with my coaches. My mom hired me a personal trainer, and I have been working with Cornelius Griffin. The most important stuff is the stuff I do on my own though—pushups, sit-ups and eating right.”

Debra Nickson, Isaac’s mother, said Isaac has been able to succeed as an athlete because of the support system around him. “Isaac has a very strong supporting team,” Mrs. Nickson said. “He has his sister in Nassau in the Bahamas. He has his brother in Jacksonville. And, he has a strong church family. They have all helped him get to where he is now.”

As far as the 2014 football season goes, Isaac hopes to break a few records. “As an individual, I always want my personal stats to be the highest,” Nickson said. “Let me know the record, and I want to beat that record. As a team, our goal is to bring the championship back to Brundidge. Pike County is known for winning championships, and we want to get back to that.”

Nickson hopes the scouts that come to see him play during his senior season will keep their eyes on his teammates as well. “Everyone on my team has a chance to make it on the next level,” Nickson said.

“Opportunity is knocking at the door 24/7. We have to decide whether we want to take it or not.”

Isaac has verbal scholarship offers from a number of SEC schools, including Vanderbilt, where his brother Chris played, and Auburn. Nickson said he wants to focus on his senior football season before making any commitments but did add that anyone who signed him would receive a player with a “good work ethic” who is a “hard worker” and a “dedicated person.”