Southern Pigskin

Nathan Vickers: A High Motor Defender

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By Barry Every
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Last season, Vickers recorded 84 tackles, 25 TFL’s, 14 sacks, one FR and one FF.

“He is as good a high school football player as you will see…”

~Matt LeZotte

One team that shocked most Georgia High School pundits in 2019 was Richmond Hill (Ga.). This is a school that has placed a zero in the win column in Region Play 11 times since 1988.

In his 5th season at the helm of Wildcat Football Head Coach Matt LeZotte led his squad to a (9-4/4-0) record and a trip to the GHSA-AAAAAA State Semifinals. Not only was this the furthest the Cats had been in the playoffs it marked only the second Region Title in school history.

One player that was a clear leader on the field and a true defensive difference maker was 6-foot-2, 215-pound defensive end Nathan Vickers. Vickers recorded 84 tackles, 25 TFL’s, 14 sacks, one FR and one FF on the season.

His junior year performance shouldn’t have come as a surprise. As a sophomore he racked up 43 tackles, seven TFL’s, five sacks and two FR’s while leading his team to the second round of the GHSA playoffs.

Vickers stellar play did not go unnoticed earning a plethora of honors including Region 2-AAAAAA Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named First Team All-Defense by the Savannah Morning News and made the All-ESPN Coastal Team.

Even more impressive was the fact that he and teammate Jalen Rouse became the first two Wildcats to be named First Team All-State by the AJC. Vickers was then selected and participated in the 2019 GACA North/South All-Star Classic.

“Vickers is a considerate and compassionate person that is extremely aware of his surroundings,” LeZotte said. “He is just so self-aware which makes him a great person and teammate but even easier to coach. I gave him the option of wearing a single digit prior the season and he simply stated that those things don’t matter.”
Vickers currently holds a 3.3 GPA and recently took the ACT of the first time while scheduling to the SAT in March. He is no slouch in the weight room either boasting a 325-pound bench and a 510-pound squat.“He is a defensive end all the way; you put him on a tight end and he’ll wear that kids butt out,” LeZotte said. “He is a high motor guy that is extremely physical and has tremendous tendon strength. His explosiveness and violent hands also set him apart from others.”

Vickers is a two-sport performer taking part on the Richmond Hill Track team were the throws the shotput and discus. Last season he qualified for State’s but allowed two older teammates that qualified in those events to go instead of him. 

“Again, it is his motor that sets him apart; He is a David Pollack type motor guy,” LeZotte said. He is at his best making plays in the backfield.”

At this time Vickers has yet to receive his first offer but is currently receiving strong interest from Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State and the Naval Academy. Right now it’s the Naval Academy showing the most attention for his talents.
Last year Vickers camped at the Kennesaw State Mega Camp and has already taken unofficial visits to Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. He is still planning potential visits to Kennesaw State and the Naval Academy in the near future.

“He is as good a high school football player as you will see,” LeZotte said. “He has a big frame and will play at around 235-pounds. There is not an ounce of fat on his chiseled body. I see him as a 5-technique at the Group of Five level or as a high level FCS -type prospect.”

Richmond Hill has made the GHSA playoffs the last four years with 2019 being the bell-cow season. What will the Wildcats have in store for 2020 and how can they continue their unheralded success?

“We have to focus on the same things we did last year, keeping the same concepts,” Vickers said. “We will then add onto things that we missed last year. Each one of us has to watch our diet, work out and do well in the offseason. If we do these things we will be rewarded this coming year.”

As the defensive intimidator, Vickers will be counted on again to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. With all the recognition from his past season it will not be easy to sneak up on his on-the-field adversaries.
“I definitely need to do a better job of reading the quarterback on whether it’s an inside or outside run,” Vickers said. “I do feel confident in my technique and knowing how to get around people. Understanding where the play is going before the snap and how to use my hands depending on that play are a couple of other things that have helped me be successful on the field.”

High character, high motor and obviously very self-motivated are three qualities all recruits will need to possess in order to be successful at the next level. Vickers exudes these attributes while being a model citizen off the field. Look for his stock to take off once his test scores comeback.

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