USF Football BIO
51 Stephen Nicholas
USF’s top defensive player and an All-America candidate, he is a three-time member of the Butkus Watch List and was also named to the Bronco Nagurski Trophy Watch List this season... Preseason all-Big East in The Sporting News after earning second team league honors after the 2005 season...Also ranks as the number five outside linebacker in the nation in The Sporting News...Could have opted for NFL Draft but chose to come back for senior season...Displays excellent lateral speed and is known as a punishing tackler...A team leader...Coaches are confident lining him up at any of the three linebacker slots and he often roams...Won Freshman All-America honors in The Sporting News in 2003...Staff saw talent from his arrival in 2002, playing him as a true freshman before an ankle injury led to a medical redshirt season that year...Didn’t miss a beat upon return in 2003
SOUTH FLORIDA - 2005: Had seven sacks among a team-high 15.5 tackles for loss and 79 total tackles...Had two sacks in season-opener at Penn State (Sept. 3)...10 tackles in USF’s game with NC State in the Meineke Car Care Bowl...Had three pass breakups and a fumble recovery...In addition to all-Big East honors, he was named USF’s Defensive Playmaker of the Year...
SOUTH FLORIDA – 2004: Second on the team with 97 tackles, including 54 solo stops...11 tackles for loss were also second most on team...Started all 11 games, with first six at SAM and final five at WILL...Season-high 16 tackles vs. Memphis (Nov. 20)...Had 10 tackles in each of three other games...Three of his eight tackles vs. Southern Miss (Oct. 2) were for losses...Batted down four passes in the season opener vs. Tennessee Tech (Sept. 11).
2003: In addition to his Freshman All-America status, he was Conference USA all-freshman and he was the USF Rookie of the Year...Second in the nation among all freshmen with 5.5 sacks...Started the final nine games and played in all 11...Had 46 tackles, including 11 for losses...Career-high seven tackles vs. TCU (Oct. 10) and again at Memphis (Nov. 29)...Also forced a fumble at Memphis...Had three tackles for loss in double overtime win over Cincinnati (Oct. 31)...Had a season-best two sacks at Southern Miss (Oct. 25).
2002: Played in each of the first three games and had two tackles, including one for a five-yard loss before ankle injury led to medical redshirt.
LEE HIGH SCHOOL - Class 3A all-state linebacker in 2001... Made 151 tackles in his senior season, including three sacks...In addition to all-state, he was named to the Florida Times Union Super 11 team in the greater Jacksonville area...Also played for the North squad in Jacksonville's annual Shrine Bowl...As a junior, he had over 100 tackles, and he made over 300 tackles in his prep career...Leader of a Lee High defense that allowed just 177 yards per game in 2001, and he also played running back...Also considered Syracuse, Georgia and Louisville prior to signing with USF.
PERSONAL – Born May 1, 1983...Given name is Stephen Leron Nicholas.