February 9, 2008
Valentine’s Day is just days and already Park City High School senior Colton Nichter has the ultimate proposal story. Only this one is a little different.
"We went to a suite that overlooked the field," he remembers. "Coach [Bobby] Johnson looked me in the eye and asked me to be a Commodore."
A Vanderbilt University Commodore that is. As in Division I. As in the South Eastern Conference (SEC). Nichter says he is ecstatic.
On Wednesday, he signed his national letter of intent with his parents, Park City head football coach Brandon Matich and school administrators looking on and celebrating his success.
"I think he’ll do great," Matich said. "I think Vanderbilt got a tough fooball player."
The six-foot, two-inch, 275-pound lineman’s talents are no secret to anyone. In fact, he already had a pretty nice proposal from PAC 10 school Washington State as well as other successful programs.
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The defensive tackle’s relationship with Vandy started this summer. He attended a football camp in Bountiful to bulk up on his football skills and impressed the coaching staff there. One coach had connections with Vanderbilt and told them about Nichter’s skills. The Commodores spent all season watching Nichter play, earning all-conference, all-state and numerous individual team awards, before finally making their power play to enlist him. Nichter had already verbally consented to play for Washington State but kept his options open.
"I never thought an SEC school would pursue me," Nichter said.
When he arrived in Tennessee at the Vanderbilt campus, he fell in love. He says that he fell in love with everything Tennessee, the campus, the football program, the academics and the coaching staff.
It was a perfect fit he felt, so he let Washington State know that he would be headed in the opposite direction this fall and began proceedings to sign with the Commodores.
"Coach He’s funny and he knows so much about football," Nichter said.
Nichter admits that it’s been a bit of a thrill ride through his high school football career. Each year he grew bigger and stronger and more skilled at his position and continued to garner more and more honors and awards and soon big-time schools started taking notice. When Matich arrived at the school he helped Nichter get into a solid weight-lifting routine and helped him become more disciplined.
"Coach Matich has done a good job. He came here and got us used to working hard," Nichter said. "He’s a good coach and he got me where I am today."
Matich says Nichter should do well in Vanderbilt’s program and has the kind of skills that teams are looking for these days.
"Today’s game is focused more on speed than on size," he explained. "They like kids who will run to the football."
But Nichter wasn’t living in a fantasy world, he knew how hard it was to play at the next level and was hoping he could play at a Big Sky conference school or something.
His father, Mike, helped him a lot, he played at Weber State University in college and helped Colton navigate through the college recruitment process.
"I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad," Nichter said.
Now that he is headed for the challenges of college football, Nichter says he’s ready but he’s nervous.
"I don’t know what the competition is compared to college," he said.
He knows that the training camp in the South could be overwhelming and is wary about what types of teams he’ll line up across from, but he’s ready for the change.
"It’s nice to get out of the state and meet new people and do new things," Nichter said.
And as for the humidity of the South he is ready for it.
"That’s all I can think about," he said. "I want to be where it’s hot. I’m sick of the cold."