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Berkeley Prep: Bucs' leader pays attention to details
TAMPA - It's the little things, Destin Nichols says, that can make good football players great. Even being on time for practice. When a handful of Nichols' Berkeley Prep teammates were tardy for the first day of fall practice, he gathered the entire team afterward for a pep talk. "Coach doesn't remember how many touchdowns I've thrown or how many interceptions I've thrown, but I guarantee you he can tell you how many times I've been late,'' Nichols said. "He can tell you all the times I wasn't looking when he was talking. "It's little things, but those things matter.''Nichols pays attention to the details and that's what has made him a successful quarterback. He has been the Buccaneers starting signal caller the past three seasons, getting better each year. Last year, Nichols threw for 1,186 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 109 passing attempts, he threw only one interception. His sophomore season, Nichols threw for 1,082 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. But as technically sound as Nichols is, it's his leadership skills that make him such a valuable asset to Berkeley's offense. Nichols has been known to "crack up" the huddle during tense times in a game. He can just as easily command the attention of every player on the team, much like he did in the informal gathering after the Bucs first practice. "He's just a great person," Berkeley athlete Nelson Agholor said. "Being a quarterback is a serious job but he finds a way to balance the seriousness with the fun times. "You see a guy like that, the different traits he carries with him — the great personality, being a likeable person and being a hard worker, so you have nothing else but to follow that guy.'' Agholor is one of many weapons Nichols has to work with. Leading receiver Christian Hardegree is another. The Buccaneers return all but a few key starters from last year's team that advanced to the regional finals. In a district with teams such as Clearwater Central Catholic and Tampa Catholic, there are new opponents to contend with but that won't change Nichols fastidious approach. "He's the kind of guy you want leading your team," Agholor said. "He's a really tough guy who finds a way to win."