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Can't Wait For Saturday | Miami transfer Nicholson gives Alabama a leg up on the competition

Apr. 23—***

You might not think the addition of a kicker would move the needle much for an aspiring national championship contender.

But Graham Nicholson is no ordinary kicker. He was at the top of my Lou Groza Award ballot last season and he won it.

At Miami (Ohio), he hit a ridiculous 27 of 28 field goals tries. His lone miss came in the MAC title game against Toledo. No big deal, he made his other three and Miami won.

Nicholson announced he is transferring to Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, Nicholson replaces graduated Will Reichard, one of the other finalists for the Groza.

Nicholson wasn't asked to hit a bunch of deep kicks, but he nailed his lone attempt 50 or longer (52). He was money for the RedHawks everywhere else, converting 10 of 11 from 40 and beyond.

If he gets enough attempts in Tuscaloosa, Nicholson will have a great chance to repeat at Groza winner.

He is also excellent on kickoffs, with most resulting in touchbacks.

Alabama won't be the favorite in the SEC this season. That title belongs to Geogia. But first-year coach Kalen DeBoer has a playoff-ready team led by quarterback Jalen Milroe and a deep roster built by departed Nick Saban and the new boss.

Nicholson is one of the last needed pieces.

Alabama opens the DeBoer era Aug. 31 against Western Kentucky, The fourth game is at home aganst Georgia.