As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on rookie safety Montae Nicholson.
1. He was one of the best high school athletes in the state of Pennsylvania.
At Gateway High School in Monroeville, Penn., Nicholson was a three sport stud. Along with being a standout football player, he played basketball and track for the Gators.
Nicholson won three state titles in track his senior year in 2014, and also placed fourth in the long jump at the state championships. Nicholson is also the school-record holder in 110 hurdles.
2. For a safety, he can really move.
Nicholson clocked a 4.42 in the 40 yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine, which is an incredible feat for a 6-2, 212-pound safety.
Nicholson also recorded a 35.0 inch vertical leap and a 125.0 inch broad jump.
3. He’s a family man.
If you go on Nicholson’s Instagram (@montnich9) you can tell that he takes great pride in his family.
Here's one of his mother, sister and brother, who have been with him every step of the way during his journey to the NFL.
4. He’s the 17th player from Michigan State selected by the Redskins all-time.
The Washington Redskins have a long history of drafting players out of Michigan State.
Nicholson is the newest member of that group, joining E Stan McRae (1941), E Frank Brogger (1945), B Al Dorow (1952), E Orlando Mazza (1952), E Paul Dekker (1953), B Ed Timmerman (1953), B Billy Wells (1954), B Gary Lowe (1956), B Jerry Planutis (1956), G Buck Nystrom (1956), FB Ron Hatcher (1962), B Carl Charon (1962), B Lonnie Sanders (1963), DT Bobby Wilson (1991), WR Devin Thomas (2008) and QB Trent Williams (2012).
5. He was a beast at Michigan State.
All in all, Nicholson had an extremely productive career as a Spartan. In three years, he recorded 200 tackles (109 solo, 91 assists), four interceptions, four passes defensed, 4.5 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in 38 career games, including 23 starts.
"I'm a physical player, you know what I mean?” Nicholson said. “I like to run and hit people. I'm pretty fast, and I have got good range. That’s pretty much attributes for the team."
6. He’s been waiting for this moment his entire life.
Nicholson has wanted to be an NFL player for as long as he could remember, and he shared his dreams in this interview with Michigan State athletics.
"It's an opportunity to better myself as a man, as a football player, as an individual as a whole," Nicholson said," and an opportunity to make a better life for my family and those around me".
7. He’s ready to lead.
The Redskins loaded up on defensive players during the 2017 NFL Draft with hopes that they could come in and contribute right away.
Nicholson is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum he suffered throughout his junior season at Michigan State, but when healthy, he thinks he can be a true leader in the team's secondary.
So far, Nicholson’s rehab has been ahead of schedule, and he’s expected to be ready for full contact by training camp.
“Montae was sitting there and it was kind of a position of need, but also he was one of our top-rated safeties and we decided to take him,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s a big kid that can really run. I think he ran a 4.4 at the Combine, and worst-case he’s going to help out our special teams and that’s important. That’s one of the big three phases so that’s a good add for us.”