NC State Linebacker Riley Nicholson has decided it’s not in his best interest to continue playing college football.
Nicholson was injured on the opening kickoff of the opening game of 2017 against South Carolina. The specifics of his injury weren’t revealed at the time. He was said to have an “upper body injury.”
This week it was revealed that Nicholson had suffered his second concussion within the past twelve months, and he had also suffered a couple of concussions in high school as well.
Nicholson took to Twitter to announce his retirement and share his gratitude to his coaches and to the Wolfpack fans.
The loss of Nicholson is no small loss. Entering the season, it was obvious that 3-year starters Jerod Fernandez and Airius Moore would sit at the top of the depth chart. With that being said, NC State head coach Dave Doeren made it clear that there was more competition at the linebacker position than any time before in his tenure. Heading into game one, Doeren said they looked at Fernandez, Moore, Germaine Pratt and Riley Nicholson all as starters. Nicholson is now replaced on the depth chart by true freshman Louis Acceus.
Like Acceus, Nicholson played as a true freshman, and he actually started in four games (#3 Clemson, #16 Florida State, Syracuse and #11 UNC). He led the Wolfpack in tackles against Syracuse as a frosh. Nicholson was the top reserve linebacker as a Sophomore last year.
In two years, Nicholson will finish his college football career with 43 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
In my opinion, Nicholson had a quality that many football players lack. Nicholson was instinctual. His game-speed was faster than his 40-speed. He wasn’t busy thinking on the field. He was busy reacting. Nicholson had a nose for the football. He was fearless and physical.
He will continue on as a student-coach for the NC State football team.
Nicholson will be greatly missed, and Wolfpack fans should be extremely grateful for his contribution over the past two years.