MSU safety Nicholson declares for NFL draft

Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News

East Lansing — Michigan State junior safety Montae Nicholson has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

Nicholson made the announcement on Twitter Thursday night, becoming the second Michigan State player to announce this month that he was leaving early, following junior defensive tackle Malik McDowell.

“In December of 2013, I made one of the best decisions of my life to become a Michigan State Spartan,” Nicholson said. “Now exactly three years later, I have made one of the most difficult decisions of my life to leave East Lansing and take the next steps towards my future. I am excited and humbled to announce that I will be forgoing my senior season to join the large brotherhood of Spartans in the NFL and will be entering the 2017 NFL Draft.”

Nicholson played in 38 career games while collecting 200 tackles and four interceptions. He had a career-high 17 tackles this season against BYU.

The move is a bit surprising for the 6-foot-2, 219-pound native of Monroeville, Pa. Throughout the season, had Nicholson rated as a late-round pick at best and now has him ranked the No. 4 overall strong safety in the 2018 draft.

None of that, apparently, has deterred Nicholson.

“Playing for Michigan State has been an honor and a privilege,” Nicholson said. “I will continue to wear my Green and White with pride and hope to return to Spartan Stadium and cheer on my friends and teammates for years to come. I cannot wait to watch this program grow and bring the Big 10 Championship trophy back to East Lansing.”