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Tate Nichols goes on medical hardship, career over

Mar 9, 2013, 11:16 AM EDT

Tate Nichols

The football career of offensive tackle Tate Nichols is over. Brian Kelly confirmed the news in an interview with the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen. The 6-foot-8, 320-pound right tackle will go on a medical hardship scholarship and finish his degree at Notre Dame. His scholarship no longer counts against the 85 man limit.

Nichols’ career never had a chance to get started. Injuries plagued the massive tackle from the moment he stepped foot on campus, with shoulder and knee maladies making it next to impossible for Nichols to push his way into playing time. Heading into last spring, many projected Nichols to be the heir apparent at right tackle. But the 2012 season was another lost year for one of the most intriguing recruits of Kelly’s early “profile” recruits, and in the end the injuries — which Kelly hinted at during his Signing Day press conference — were too much to overcome.

Nichols came to the Irish in Kelly’s transitional recruiting class, a one-time Stanford commitment that was a jumbo-sized tight end in high school. While Kelly joked even on his Signing Day that his days at tight end were over, Nichols represented a larger, more athletic offensive line prospect that Kelly has committed to recruiting since taking over. Some have looked at the Irish’s 2012 offensive line, an assembly of Charlie Weis recruits, and called them five guards. Nichols certainly broke out of that mold.

With an influx of offensive linemen coming in this class, the spring will have another void at the position with Nichols’ departure. Nichols joins Brad Carrico as Irish linemen that have gone on medical hardship, and ends any hope of getting to see the nasty, road-grader type tackle that had many Irish fans excited.

  1. bernhtp - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    This has been long anticipated, unfortunately.

    On another news front, what is the expectation for Joey Brooks now that he has shifted from basketball to football?

    • dickasman - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Who da hell is that? Is he related to Joe Schmo? I’d say big fat zero. If he knows how to properly squeeze a water bottle between the face masks without too many drippings, that’s probably contribution enough.

      Is he related to tony/Reggie brooks? Garth brooks? Brooks n Dunn? Otherwise, grab a seat on da bench son!

      • bernhtp - Mar 9, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        You obviously aren’t a fan and aren’t lining up to buy his jersey.

    • stedward - Mar 9, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      I love Joey Brooks as a person but I have no idea where will be fit on the football team. He’s a pretty big guy and an athlete so he could at least play on special teams. If it doesn’t work out in spring football he could play basketball in grad school somewhere.

      • bernhtp - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        You would think that his size and athleticism would lend themselves to TE, WR or OLB. I don’t know how much football he’s played, but it seems like a stretch to change sports at this stage.

  2. ndnapa - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Tate just could never catch a break. I hope his luck is better in the real world. I wonder how different the OL would have performed with Nichols and Matt James at OT, Martin and Watt at OG and Cave at center?

  3. mungman69 - Mar 10, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    What, no stories about basketball? What gives?

  4. mungman69 - Mar 10, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    And Easter is on Sunday this year.

  5. 1historian - Mar 10, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    This is an unfortunate story, but these things do happen. Feces, as they say, occur.

    I strongly believe that stories like this and WATN stories about former players should be told to potential recruits if the situation warrants it.

  6. dudeacow - Mar 10, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Here’s some good news about Kiel and Nichols: oh wait, my bad, there isn’t any. What a wonderful weekend.
    And to think, that this was just a minor occurrence that was just going to keep Tate out of a couple of practices. He was supposed to be back to full health by the Purdue game. But I guess such is the world of college kids banging into each other on scholarships.

  7. fnc111 - Mar 11, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    This guy had me really excited last spring he was playing that well in practice. He beat that little girl Aaron Lynch down so much it got him to quit. ND could’ve been special like 12-0 special if Tate and Kiel teamed up in 2014. Oh well back to 6-6 now. Fun while it lasted but along with Stanford we will all see how difficult it is to sustain success at a place that’s tough to recruit to. Just wondering when CBK will get his wish of some academic waivers so he can build some depth before heading to the nfl? Good, quality depth is what is embarrassing ND on the big stage. I hope the administration will wake up one day.

    • dbldmr - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      6-6? I don’t see any possible way ND could do that well if they are deprived of the services of two guys who didn’t play a down in 2012. Without their contributions it’s hard to imagine Notre Dame even winning a game.


  8. 1historian - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    I am reminded of a story I heard a number of years ago when Lou was still coach.

    The recruiting class for that year was just about full except for a kicker from Colorado. Given that his dad had played @ ND it was pretty much assumed he would come to ND, but at the last minute he changed his mind and enrolled at Florida State. Lou’s reaction was “He didn’t make a 4 year mistake – he made a 40 year mistake.”

    I don’t know if it is true, but it very well could be.

  9. jerseyshorendfan1 - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Keith, of course your headline to this story means Tate’s football career is over…….not his career. Since he will finish his degree requirements at ND, chances are better than average that he will have a full and rewarding career doing whatever he chooses.

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