DeCarlos Nicholson has come a long way in a year. The former Petal (Miss.) High School quarterback transitioned to the collegiate level with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2020 with some success at the game's most important position.
Long and athletic at 6'3", 195 pounds, he made the move to defensive back in the spring and now a sophomore at MGCCC. Since the switch, a bevy of college football programs want to see him transition to the Power 5 level in the secondary.
Nicholson picked Kentucky in the summer.
"When I went out there I liked it," he said of Lexington. "I'm trying to start my own thing in Kentucky, rather like everybody else going to Mississippi State or Ole Miss."
Of course the in-state programs haven't slowed in the chase for Nicholson's signature, a process set to be finalized during the Early Signing Period in mid December. Florida State has long been in the mix, too.
Ole Miss hosted the transfer prospect for a visit over the weekend.
"It was fun," he said. "I got to see a lot of people I, grew up around or grew up with, play. And do good, they won. It was pretty nice seeing how their program is. They let me know I don't have to go any further to succeed. Play in the SEC from the home state."
Nicholson singled out cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley as one of the major selling points for the Rebels. He said "T-Buck" is the assistant coach he has drawn closest to, with Florida State's Marcus Woodson thereafter.
"Coach (Marcus) Woodson, he's from Mississippi, too," Nicholson said. "They're just hitting me up all the time, checking in on me and my family's and stuff. It will give them a chance to see what they have to offer. They're the only one that really stuck it out with me."
An experience at the Tallahassee program is set for this weekend, an official visit with rival Miami in town. The planning of the trip to see FSU up close had plenty to do with the opponent in this case.
"Miami is my dad's team, too," he said. "That's why I picked this game for the official. I want to see how they coach and be in meetings to see how it is. I went there unofficially, but was only there for a few hours. I want to see how they play, to see the environment and how the fans are."
More of an LSU fan than one of the Egg Bowl programs growing up, Nicholson will see the Mississippi rivals compete in the rivalry game this Thanksgiving. But Mississippi State will get an official visit after that point, too.
"I went there in the summer, but my parents haven't been there, so I want to see what they think about it," he said. "And I'm ready for the Egg Bowl, to see one of their game day atmospheres. I haven't been to a game up there.
"This year they're both (Ole Miss, MSU) doing real good. It's good to see both of them headed in the right direction. They're both in the home state, they're both SEC, and that's the best conference in college."
With four very contrasting options to consider, Nicholson aticipcates utilizing the next month to be sure of his pick.
He calls the commitment to Mark Stoops, the head coach he talks to the most, "strong."
The battle is not yet over, though.
"Stuff I've got to think about, pray about...I'm looking for a family feel, somewhere I can be comfortable at," he said. "A place that can develop me at corner and get me to the league."
Nicholson, who registered 19 tackles in 2021, will sign a National Letter of Intent on December 15 and enroll at his school of choice in January as a junior college transfer. He should have three seasons of on-field eligibility remaining.