25 Donnie Nickey

Donnie Nickey Ohio State
usaUnited States
Plain City, OH
High School
Jonathan Alder
Current Team
Ohio State
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Post-OSU Update: Donnie Nickey was selected in the fifth round (154th pick) of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. He played his entire eight year career with Tennessee, making 108 tackles while playing mostly on special teams where he was highly-regarded. After football, Nickey struggled adjusting to everyday life and battled drugs, alcoholism, and depression. He straightened his life out, with the help of the late Rob Bironas, and has coached college football. As of 2014, Nickey has three children. (updated: Sep. 2022)

Major: Finance (2001-02), Undeclared (2000)

Jersey #: 25 (1999-02), 38 (1998)

Weight: 203 (2000-02), 205 (1999)

2002 Media Guide: Donnie Nickey is in his fourth year as a starter after redshirting as a true freshman in 1998 … teams with Mike Doss to give the Buckeyes one of the top safety tandems in college football … makes all the calls in the secondary … heady player who makes few mistakes … has been the model of consistency the past three seasons … began his career at strong safety, but has played free safety the past two years … is the most experienced player on either side of the ball with 36 games and 34 starts on his resume … has logged 955 minutes of career playing time … career tackle total of 191 includes 132 solo stops … should have a banner senior season and be in contention for All-Big Ten honors.

2001 Season: Finished the season as the Buckeyes’ fifth leading tackler with 54 stops, including 32 solos … seven tackles at Penn State was his top effort … had three other games with six stops …jarring hit at UCLA forced a fumble (returned by Cie Grant) and earned him hit of the week honors … also had three passes broken up, two fumbles forced and a pair of interceptions … picked off his first interception of the year against Purdue and returned it 42 yards … followed that up with a 37-yard return the following week against Illinois, giving him five career picks.

2001 Media Guide: Donnie Nickey will be in his third year as a starter and teams with fellow junior Mike Doss to give the Buckeyes one of the top safety tandems in college football … has been the model of consistency over the past two years … fifth in total tackles in both 1999 and 2000 … moved from strong safety to free safety last year and wound up with 64 tackles, including 54 solos (third on the team) … also had a pair of interceptions and four passes broken up … intelligent player who often makes the defensive calls … hard hitter and a sure tackler … vastly underrated player who has improved each year … three-year OSU scholar-athlete and two-time member of the Big Ten All-Academic team.

2000 Season: Had nine tackles against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State … all nine against MSU were solos … Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.

2000 Media Guide: Donnie Nickey’s voyage since coming to Ohio State mimics a Hollywood storyline – except this one really happened. In a matter of only 18 months, Nickey went from being a scout-team wide receiver to a freshman All-America defensive back. An athletic, smart football player, he will make the switch to free safety this year after starting at strong safety last year. Nickey has been described as tough and very coachable by the Ohio State staff. “Donnie is a smart player,Jon Tenuta, defensive backs coach, said. “He’s playing free safety now and he has to make a lot of calls. He’s the kind of player that can handle that.” Nickey has good size for a defensive back and will be a big part of the OSU defense for the next three seasons.

1999: Played in all 12 games and started 10 … a second-team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News … an OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten selection … tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries … recorded an interception vs. UCLA … notched a season-high 14 tackles (including 11 solos) and a pass breakup against Wisconsin … made 11 tackles against Purdue and eight versus Michigan State … made seven tackles in his very first collegiate game (vs. Miami) … one of only five players on the team (and only freshman) to log at least 290 minutes … played a season-high 34 minutes against Miami, Wisconsin and Penn State.

1999 Media Guide: If any one player opened coaches’ eyes this spring it was Donnie Nickey. He had a tremendous first spring practice with the Buckeyes and, after redshirting the 1998 season as a true freshman, has positioned himself to battle for the starting strong safety position in 1999. He made enough plays during spring drills that he will go into fall camp as the No. 1 strong safety. “Donnie is a tough, aggressive, hard-nosed safety,” secondary coach Jon Tenuta said following spring drills. “He is a good athlete, he knows the game and we look for big things from him.

1998: Redshirted the 1998 season as a true freshman. Was named an OSU Scholar-Athlete.

1998 Media Guide: A talented athlete with size and speed … rushed for over 1,300 yards as a senior at Jonathan Alder … first-team all-state … had 2,412 career rushing yards … also had seven career interceptions … a three-year football starter … played tailback and safety in high school but he will be looked at as a defensive back at OSU … helped his high school team win the state baseball championship as a senior … mother (Cindy) graduated from Bowling Green and his father (Don) graduated from Kent … has a brother, Ian, who plays football at Kenyon … born April 25, 1980.


SeasonTeamGGSTklSoloAsstTFLTFL YdsSacksSack YdsFFFRIntInt YdsPBUBlkPRPR YdsPR TD
1999Ohio State12107346271200021020000
2000Ohio State121264541022110121140000
2001Ohio State121254322227152027930000
2002Ohio State141467442312000200201140