Lew Nichols III declares for the 2023 NFL Draft


Detroit sophomore Lew Nichols III catches the ball during the game against South Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Central Michigan football will have to replace one of its powerhouse running backs heading into the 2023 season.

Sophomore running back Lew Nichols III declared for the 2023 NFL Draft after signing with VIP Sports Management of Detroit. The Detroit native announced his decision via Instagram on Monday.  


After leading the nation in rushing yards in 2021, Nichols didn't have the season everyone expected. Battling a leg injury, Nichols appeared in nine games this season and had 616 rushing yards and six touchdowns as the Chippewas went 4-8.

The 2021 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year led the FBS in rushing yards with 1,848 and carries with 341. His 142.2 yards per game also led FBS. He was ninth nationally in rushing touchdowns with 16. Nichols was named the team's Herb Deromedi Most Valuable Player and earned First Team All-MAC honors. 

In 2020, he was MAC Freshman Player of the Year, rushing for a team-high of 508 yards and four touchdowns on 78 attempts for a 6.5-yard average. Nichols had 10 receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown ranking him second on the team with 103.8 all-purpose yards per game. 

Redshirting in 2019, he appeared in CMU’s four non-conference games, carrying 19 times for 89 yards.

Nichols leaves CMU second all-time in season rushing yards with 1,858 behind Brain Pruitt (1,890, 1994). He is tied at fourth in rushing touchdowns with 16 and ranks second in rushing attempts with 341 behind Billy Smith (374, 1991). He's tied for sixth in points scored in a season with 108 and tied at fourth in touchdowns scored in a season with 18.  He led the team in 2020 and 2021 in rushing yards. 

The Detroit Cass Tech alum was a three-year starter and rushed for 1,078 yards on 84 carries and 23 touchdowns his senior year. He ranked 24th in the state and won a state championship in 2016.