FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – Just nine miles down the road from Razorback Stadium at George Junior High, it was there in the front office where Hogs defensive lineman Isaiah Nichols was asked a question that would change his life.
“That’s where his story really starts, here in Springdale. The staff asked if he had ever played football and she went and got the coach, and brought the coach and he said sure you can play. For me that was it,” Susan Nichols, Isaiah’s mom said.
However, Isaiah’s first practice with the team didn’t really go according to plan.
“Coach Clark tells the story of his first practice and saying they hike the ball and Isaiah didn’t know, he was like what do I do, which way do I go? He said it was funny to watch, he could tell Isaiah had some potential, but he just had no clue,” Susan said.
It didn’t take long for that to change and Isaiah to turn heads all around the area and beyond.
“It was surreal because like I said I had never thought about how much of a future he might have in football, I just wanted him to be happy, whatever he did,” Susan said.
Isaiah was then recruited by multiple Division I programs and he wanted to go to Arkansas, but he did like another coach that was recruiting him.
“Missouri was the first visit he took, it might have been an unofficial visit I don’t know but Coach Odom wanted him to come see their program and take a look at what they had going on. He really liked Coach Odom when he met him but decided to go to Arkansas. But he was really excited when he found out Coach Odom was coming to Arkansas and I’m sure they had a great reunion, hey how you doing? He loves Coach Odom,” Susan said.
The rest is history. The redshirt senior has made his impact on the defensive line. Last season, he racked up 21 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. So far this year, he has 8 total tackles through six games, but this year at the university might be the most special of them all as his mom is getting her degree at Arkansas as well.
“I was sitting on a bench at Kimble Hall waiting for my class to start and I think I was reading something, I saw these feet stop in front of me and I looked up and it was Isaiah. It was such a special moment to me, I almost cried cause I got to see Isaiah on my first day of class,” Susan said.
For all the accomplishments Isaiah has on the field, his mom is just grateful for how the game has shaped the person he is today.
“I’m really proud of Isaiah for the man he’s become I really am he’s kind and considerate and selfless and he’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever known,” Susan said.