Holy Cross changes Nikolaisen's mindset


Lucas Nikolaisen (St. Louis/De Smet) once thought FBS or bust when it came down to choosing a college football home, but there was something about FCS school Holy Cross that instantly won him over.

Nikolaisen, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound tight end, gave Holy Cross his verbal commitment last Wednesday, choosing the Crusaders over offers from Harvard and Yale and heavy interest from Northern Illinois.

Nikolaisen said the summer visit to Worcester, Mass., aided in giving him a new perspective of what he wanted in the college experience.

“Going into the whole college experience, I was always saying I’d go to a big school and meet a lot of people,” Nikolaisen said. “When you get to Worcester, you see that Holy Cross is a tiny school on top of a hill. The one thing I could say was it was gorgeous.

“The fact that only 3,000 students go there, I like that around 25 percent of them participate in varsity sports. I also liked the academics there. All of that made up my mind of me going there.”

Nikolaisen was recruited by running backs coach Matt Fanning. Nikolaisen said his ultimate decision came down to Holy Cross and Northern Illinois, but NIU never extended an offer. He is expected to compete for a starting job as a freshman, as 6-7, 255-pound, all-conference tight end Alex Schneider is finishing his senior year.