WVU’s Jake Abbott Named Tommy Nickolich Award Winner
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Since 1991, the Blue & Gold News has sponsored the Tommy Nickolich Memorial Award. The winner, selected each spring by the Mountaineer coaching staff, is given to a walk-on member of the football team who distinguishes himself with his attitude and work ethic. The award is presented in memory of Tommy Nickolich, a Fairmont, West Virginia native and former WVU football walk-on (1979-82) who passed away as the result of cancer in 1983.
This year’s winner, the 29th in the history of the award, is another Fairmont native, Jake Abbott.
A two-time Class AA all-state selection at Fairmont Senior High School, Abbott capped his prep career by winning the 2016 Chuck Howley Award, which is presented to the best prep linebacker in the state of West Virginia. He was also the USA Today state defensive player of the year. He played quarterback and linebacker for the Polar Bears before walking on to West Virginia’s program as a linebacker in 2017.
Off the field, Abbott has excelled in the classroom as a business major while working toward playing time. He is a member of West Virginia’s Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
Not only was Nickolich a Fairmont native, but like Abbott he was also a Fairmont Senior High School alum. Abbott is the first fellow Polar Bear to win the award that honors Tommy’s memory.
Also honored in the pregame ceremonies were the Iron Mountaineers, which included Colton McKivitz, Reese Donahue, Alec Sinkfield and Josh Chandler.