ROANOKE, Va. – Deaquan Nichols has been a difference-maker for William Fleming, in more ways than one.
“I knew he had a lot of potential. One of the things we had to figure out was where to put him,” said William Fleming head football coach, Jamar Lovelace.
“He’s got abilities on both sides of the ball, he can throw the ball, catch the ball and has a lot of great leadership qualities.”
“At first football was just an outing for me,” said Nichols.
“I was going through some things and on the football field you can assume any personality and be whoever you want to be and it was a whole escape from my reality.”
It became more than just an outing by his senior season when Nichols served as the Colonels signal-caller — passing for nearly 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also was on the receiving end of 5 touchdowns.
Nichols not only let his game do the talking on Friday nights, but his grades did that as well—a GPA well over 4.0-- earning him a full academic scholarship to James Madison University.
“In the classroom, I just wanted to be the best at everything. So I wanted to be the best student and the best athlete,” Nichols said.
“I think he’s only made one ‘B’ his whole high school career and that’s a challenge we had for him was to be perfect academically,” said Lovelace.
Nichols fielded offers from Ivy League schools such as Princeton but ultimately chose JMU, where he will major in Biophysical Chemistry and play receiver or defensive back for the football team as a recruited walk-on.
“It shows our guys are in complete control of what they want to do and that control starts academically,” Lovelace said.
Breaking stereotypes and epitomizing the football team’s motto, ‘neWFleming’.
“It’s a privilege, makes you feel really good. It makes you feel like anything is possible. I’m just a kid from Roanoke City, William Fleming High School. This school is always talked bad about but yet I can go to Princeton, Harvard, go to all these great schools. It’s just an honor honestly,” said Nichols.