Manteca (Calif.) linebacker Blake Nichelson is headed to the Sunshine State.
The four-star linebacker just announced his commitment to Florida State, live on 247Sports’ YouTube channel.
He broke down why he picked the ‘Noles.
“I just felt like when I was there, I just felt needed there,” said Nichelson. “I felt the players and coaches, I really connected with them and all of them on a personal level. The support from the coaches, fans, the players, no matter who was involved was a big reason why I picked them.”
Nichelson took an official visit to Florida State in June, just as he did to Oregon.
But it was an unofficial visit the last week in July that started trending momentum Florida State’s way.
“I think it was after that unofficial visit in late July, that it really started to turn,” said Nichelson. “Getting out there and seeing the practice, and to connect with more people really helped me.”
Nichelson said he let the ‘Noles staff know he was in shortly after their season opening win over LSU.
Darrick Yray, Florida State’s general manager, is a Manteca native and he had been recruiting Nichelson since he was at Oregon State.
Nichelson let Yray know he wanted to tell head coach Mike Norvell his decision, so when they connected, Norvell was fired up.
“Coach Norvell, you could tell he was pumped on the phone,” said Nichelson. “He’s had a high energy and ever since that I have felt that same energy from them. Coach (Randy) Shannon, he was super pumped too.
In fact, Nichelson told Shannon, who was planning to come watch him play just a few days later.
“Coach Shannon came to one of our games and I told him I was coming before he came to one of our games,” said Nichelson. “Throughout this process, he’s remained the same through all aspects of it.”
Nichelson said he’s excited to represent his hometown in the ACC.
“I feel like it’s pretty big, considering where I’m from to where I’m going to be,” said Nichelson. “Florida State is all the way across the map so to get recruited from my hometown is big. Seeing guys do well from California at Florida State, seeing guys from California thrive at Florida State gives me confidence.”
Nichelson finished second in the state of California in rushing touchdowns in 2021 as a junior and offensive plays aren’t completely out of the question when he gets there.
“They definitely talked about some offensive packages, where I can run the ball a little bit,” said Nichelson.
With his decision made, Nichelson said he’s relieved.
“I just feel like it’s a big relief and a lot of weight off my shoulders,” said Nichelson. “I feel confident in the school I want to go to so I was ready to finally make that decision.”
A four-star in the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings, Nichelson is the No. 19 linebacker nationally and the No. 15 prospect per the Composite, while 247Sports ranks him as the No. 132 overall player in the country, the No. 11 linebacker nationally and the No. 11 prospect in California in 2023.
He has been selected to play in both the 2023 All-American Bowl in San Antonio and the 2023 Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.