Published May 13, 2014
Local football player, Nicholas, is slated to play in the NCAA next season
By Mark Vest firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Mark on Twitter.
L’Anse Creuse North senior Deiontae Nicholas recently discovered a letter he wrote to himself when he was in grade school.
The contents of the letter were in regards to his “dream” of one day playing in the NFL.
Nicholas, who played running back for the Crusaders, has now put himself in position to achieve that status in the future, as last winter he signed on to play with Wayne State University as part of the Warriors’ 2014 recruiting class.
“Very excited,” he said. “The feeling of getting a scholarship was overwhelming. When Wayne State offered me — them being close to home and being a college athlete — altogether, it was overwhelming. I just love the whole feeling of it. It’s been like a dream of mine. I have a bigger dream to go to the NFL, but the dream right now is college sports. That was accomplished, and that’s just a great feeling. It’s one step closer to the ultimate dream. But this is a dream come true. It’s a blessing, really”
Nicholas’ accomplishments during his senior season at LCN include being selected first team All-Conference, first team All- County and first team All-Metro East as a specialist. He had over 1,200 all-purpose yards, scored 18 touchdowns and averaged approximately 8 yards per carry, which helped him come away as the Crusaders’ offensive MVP.
Nicholas acknowledged support he has received along the way, including from his mother, Cicely, his family and his coaches, including LCN head coach Anthony Kiner, and running backs coach and special teams coordinator Brian Anderson. Nicholas wasn’t just thinking about himself when he offered his opinion as to the keys to coming as far as he has.
“A new coaching staff came in — they put me in the right places,” he said. “We had a great quarterback (Sean Koski) this year — that didn’t hurt, either. Teammates that surrounded us and the community here in Macomb was just great. My family, too. My mom.”
Wayne State got more than just a running back with nice statistics when it signed Nicholas.
“He’s a great person on and off the field,” Kiner said. “Great student. Really great student-athlete. He’s also, footballwise, a dynamic runner — really explosive in the running game. Overall, Deiontae has meant so much to our program. He’s a great kid and really look forward to seeing great things at Wayne State.”
Aside from all the support he has received, Nicholas indicated he learned a lesson during his junior season that can help him beyond just the football field.
“My junior year, our new program started,” he said. “I thought that I could just walk on the field, play with all the big boys, and just get a starting spot. I learned quickly nothing’s handed to you. You have to work for everything. I didn’t play as much my junior year, and then I came out my senior year and realized you have to work for everything.”
While Nicholas indicated that one of his goals at Wayne State, which competes at the NCAA Division II level, is to “make an impact on the school that they’ll never forget,” the opportunity to play for the Warriors could also help turn his childhood letter into a reality. And it probably doesn’t hurt having former Wayne State and current Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell to look to as an example of what can be done.
“It gave me a lot of motivation seeing that a path was already laid down. It’s not beyond reach and that I can do it,” said Nicholas, who referenced the program’s first-ever playoff win during his junior season as a favorite high school memory.
Aside from receiving the opportunity to play at the NCAA-level, from Nicholas’ perspective, there may be other perks to being a student-athlete, as well.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m very excited to start another path in my life. Blessing to be on Wayne State’s campus and take advantage of every opportunity that I have there — great campus and a great mixture of students there. The education facility is great. Everything seems nice. I actually know a couple guys that already go to Wayne State, so it’s a big reunion for me.”