Monday, Notre Dame received a commitment from Jack Nickel, a 2022 tight end out of Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton. The 6-4, 230-pounder is a special talent and is one of the best tight ends in his class.
He is currently ranked as a four-star player and the No. 296 player in the country by ESPN.
Nickel’s game is a combination of hard work, dedication, and strong football genes. Paul Nickel, Jack’s father, played football at Stanford in the ‘90s and was a part of the Cardinal team in 1990 that beat Notre Dame in South Bend. Paul, like his son, was also a tight end and has passed down his knowledge of the game and the position to his son, Jack.
“Jack understands that in order to be good, you have to work really hard,” the elder Nickel explained. “In order to be great, you have to work even harder. I’ve taught him that he must be able to do things that other people will not do.”
Mr. Nickel experienced firsthand what it was like to be a college athlete and how difficult it was to balance his academics, social life, and football.
“It is lonely at times,” said the former Stanford tight end.”There are plenty of times when you have to miss out on that party or hanging out with friends because you are running sprints or studying the playbook or lifting weights. Jack is so committed, even more so than I was, and I am so proud of him for that.”
He credits Jack for naturally being a very mature kid, and he knows that his son is very well prepared for the challenges that college will present to him.
“Jack is obsessed with this Arnold Schwarzenegger speech about not having a ‘Plan B’ but only having a 'Plan A’ and doing whatever it takes to make Plan A work,” Mr. Nickel explained. “That is the kind of kid Jack is. Once he puts his mind to something, there is no stopping him. He is going to do it.”
While Jack is not a superhuman bodybuilder like Schwarzenegger, he does put everything he has into his craft and it shows. At Milton High School, it is very rare for a freshman to earn varsity playing time but Nickel did just. Jack planned on making varsity heading into Milton, knowing how difficult it would be, but he persevered and made it.
Now, heading into his junior season as a returning starter, Nickel is sure to be a much larger part of the offense. However, that is not a major concern of his. The star tight end has always been a humble, ‘team first’ guy and will do anything it takes to help his team win.
“Jack is a sports junkie, especially football, but is also always focused on being a great leader,” said Mr. Nickel. “He wants to be the best he can be, but also wants to make everyone better around him.”
Now that Jack is committed to Notre Dame and his own personal recruitment is over, he is focused on getting the best possible team around him at Notre Dame.
In speaking with him over the phone on Sunday before his commitment was announced, Jack said he already has plans to begin recruiting some top-notch players to Notre Dame in order to make his 2022 class as great as possible.
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