Nichols, Lannum sign with MSSU

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
College ball Democrat Photo/Lindsay Reed Cassville High School seniors Ricky Nichols and Josh Lannum signed a national letter of intent to play football at Missouri Southern State University last Wednesday. Pictured above, in the front row, from left, are: Rick Nichols, Ricky's dad; and Ricky Nichols. Ricky's mom, Shirley Longley, was absent from the photo. Pictured below, in the front row, from left, are: Tracy Lannum, Josh's dad; and Josh Lannum. Josh's mom, Belinda Baker, was absent from the photo.Shown in the back row of both pictures are Wildcat head football coach David Large and Coy Dalton, CHS athletic director and assistant principal.

A pair of Cassville Wildcats have signed letters of intent to play football at Missouri Southern State University next fall. Cassville High School seniors Ricky Nichols and Josh Lannum put pen to paper and committed to playing for new MSSU coach Daryl Daye.

Nichols, the 6-2, 190-pound option quarterback of the Wildcats, chose MSSU over Pittsburg State and Central Missouri State, while choosing football over baseball.

Nichols helped the Wildcats to a 24-2 record the last two seasons and has skills beyond quarterbacking. His versatility as a runner, receiver and kick returner give Daye and his staff plenty of opportunity to get him the ball in space.

"Ricky is a very gifted young man, and one of the best athletes I have ever coached," said Cassville head football coach David Large.

According to Large, MSSU is looking at him to play quarterback in an option-style offense.

"Ricky could be very successful at the next level in football or baseball," said Large.

Nichols was named Big 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the 2011 season after rushing for 1,100 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns. Not known as a passer, he also threw for over 700 yards and 10 TDs. Nichols also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, one of them against Logan-Rogersville in a Class 3 semifinal contest.

In addition to his Big 8 honors, Nichols was named Coaches Association All-State first team and Associated Press All-State second team in 2011. He also made the All-Ozark and SWMO Coaches Association second teams.

Josh Lannum played a big role in Cassville's success during his high school career. The emphasis with Lannum is on "big." At 6-5 and 270 pounds, Lannum is still growing, and a college-level weight training program will only add to that massive frame.

Lannum had attended summer football camp at MSSU and was pretty much committed to signing with the Lions. Lannum also is a proficient discus thrower, but his emphasis will be on football.

"Josh has really improved and gained a lot of strength in the last year," said Large. "An incredible work ethic in the weight room should put a lot of muscle on an already big frame.

"I think MSSU might end up with a surprise in Josh," added Large.

During the 2011 season, Lannum garnered first team All-State, All-Big 8 and SWMO Coaches honors as a member of the Wildcats' offensive line.

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