Here’s a link to my Oregon State football notebook that ran in Thursday’s GT with the lead being on WR Aaron Nichols getting a scholarship. This version has quotes from him.
The following is stuff that didn’t fit into the print limitations, so here’s the encore. I wanted to write more about him on my blog because, well I wanted to.
He’s one of those nice guys you can’t help but like. When I interviewed him he talked about how his family had financial difficulties supporting him while he went to school, he was on the verge of tears. Nichols was moved by getting a scholarship and help he received from teammates, coaches and family.
I remembered how Alexis Serna once said he almost transferred because he couldn’t go another term as a walk-on before getting a scholarship, and how hard it was to survive. Finding food was an issue. This is what Nichols had to say about getting by without financial aid to live and eat for four years.
“It’s pretty rough; I’m not going to lie,” Nichols said. “I had to scratch bye. I applied for food stamps. I learned a lot of ways to get the nutrition I need to stay strong and healthy. As you grow up in the system you learn to lean on others, and they’ll help you.”
Then the topic of limited playing time, until last season, came up. His response is in the GT story. This year he’s the backup slot back and will be used at flanker or split end if needed.
“That’s the niche I’ve fallen into, being there when they need me,” Nichols said. “I’ll be ready for all the positions and when they call me, I go in and make a play.”
Then we reminisced how last year I wrote a story about him, Taylor Kavanaugh and Damola Adeniji being the No. 2 WRs at OSU and all of them were walk-ons. Before I could finish he finished my thought of how all three of them earned scholarships their last year.
“And I still have that photo,” Nichols said. “I kept that paper.”
For all the hurdles I deal with in life just to do this job, I walked away that Wednesday afternoon happy to tell the stories I tell.