2006: Returning starter at defensive end ... has started 21 games in his career — second most among active defensive ends in the ACC behind Baraka Atkins of Miami (34) ... looking to join former All-ACC pick and NFL Draft choice Chris Combs (1996-98) as the only two players in Duke history to lead the team in quarterback sacks for three consecutive seasons ... in 26 career games, has 95 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks to his credit ... begins the year as Duke’s active leader in both tackles for loss and sacks ... enters final season having played 1,336 career snaps — third most among active Duke players ... preseason nomination for the Lott Trophy, an award named after College and Pro Football Hall of Fame selection Ronnie Lott and presented annually to the college football student-athlete that best reflects the following qualities: integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity ... consistent performer who will also line up at defensive tackle on occasion ... one of the strongest members of the Blue Devil program, ranking first on the team in the bench press at 460 pounds ... exemplifies the true student-athlete ... one of 11 players in Duke gridiron history to earn Academic All-America honors ... two-time Academic All-District selection and two-time choice for the Academic All-ACC team ... looking to join Ben Fordham, Bill Obremskey, Mike Diminick, Sims Lenhardt, Ben Erdeljac, Chris Douglas and Travis Pearson as the only Duke players to be named to the Academic All-ACC unit three times ... graduated from Duke on May 13, 2006 with a B.S.E. degree in mechanical engineering, and will enter the school’s one-year master’s degree program in Engineering Management this fall ... missed the program’s Spring Game to take an eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam — the first step towards earning a professional engineering license.
2005: Second team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selection as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America ... played in all 11 games, starting every game except the Wake Forest contest ... on the field for a total of 673 snaps, reaching the 60-play plateau against East Carolina (60), Virginia Tech (60), Miami (68), Georgia Tech (74), Florida State (82), Clemson (62) and North Carolina (62) ... served as a game captain for the VMI and Florida State contests ... finished sixth on the team in tackles with 48 ... for the second straight season, paced the squad in quarterback sacks with three ... added eight tackles for loss, two PBUs, one fumble recovery and a team-high five quarterback pressures ... secured a season-high 10 tackles along with three tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks in Duke’s win over VMI ... had six stops in the Clemson game and recorded five tackles against East Carolina, Florida State and Wake Forest ... had two tackles for loss and a sack at East Carolina in the season-opener ... over the final three games of the year — Wake Forest, Clemson & North Carolina — picked up 14 total tackles, three tackles for loss and two PBUs ... also received Academic All-District accolades for the second straight season while earning a second consecutive spot on the Academic All-ACC unit.
2004: Started all 11 games ... named to the Academic All-ACC team while earning Academic All-District honors as well ... finished tied for the team lead with 3.0 quarterback sacks ... chipped in 47 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and one interception ... recorded a career-high 12 tackles along with two stops for loss, one sack, one QB pressure and one PBU in Duke’s 16-13 victory over Clemson ... recorded an interception and eight tackles in the Maryland contest ... picked up seven stops versus Virginia ... first career sack came at Connecticut ... on the field for 655 plays including a career-high 89 against Maryland.
2003: Played in four games, seeing action against Wake Forest, N.C. State, Tennessee and Clemson.
2002: Did not see game action.
Prior to Duke: Third team all-state pick as a senior after leading North Florida in sacks with 21 ... registered 106 tackles in 2001 and earned all-district and All-Big Bend honors ... listed as the 41st-top weakside defensive end in the nation by Rivals100.com ... ranked by the Florida Times-Union as the seventh-top defensive end in Florida ... played for J.D. Jones ... member of the National Honor Society.
Personal: Son of John and Susan Nichols ... father played basketball at Missouri and mother swam at Southeast Missouri State ... younger sister, Jamie, is a freshman member of the volleyball team at the University of West Florida ... born December 4, 1983.