The Grind: Nicky Dalmolin, North Forsyth High School Football
Football dreams weren’t a huge part of Nicky Dalmolin’s childhood. Up until middle school, his main sport was baseball, which he still plays at North Forsyth.
Then North Forsyth Middle School football coach Ty Carnes saw Dalmolin’s size and asked him to come out for the Wildcats’ team. In seventh grade, Dalmolin played tight end and defensive end, and in eighth grade, he played running back.
With the Raiders, though, Dalmolin has settled into the role of receiver, and the junior has become one of the most dangerous skill position players in the county. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he has the size to physically overpower most defenders, and with his above-average speed – 4.59 in the 40-yard dash, at last measurement – he can zip past them, too. This all makes Dalmolin a playmaker at almost every spot on the field, and one that was on the radar of multiple FBS programs before he committed to Duke during the spring.
Dalmolin was a key piece of the Raiders’ pure spread attack in 2017, the second season of head coach Robert Craft’s tenure, catching 51 passes for 585 yards and four touchdowns.
But now, with the graduation of quarterback Ben Bales, who was as pure of a pocket-passer as imaginable, the Raiders’ play distribution has swung heavily towards the run. Current signal-caller Carter Mullikin is capable on both scrambles and designed runs, and Dalmolin has found a role in the run game as well. In North’s win over Northview, he has a 29-yard touchdown run.
“Whatever gets the ball in my hand, I really like,” Dalmolin said.
He still has a chance to put up receiving numbers like he did last year, though. Through five games this season, Dalmolin has 21 catches for 223 yards, both of which lead the Raiders. In North’s come-from-behind win at Gainesville, he had six grabs for 111 yards, including a crucial first-down catch that led to the Raiders’ first score.
Dalmolin is more focused on football than ever before this year – he decided not to play travel baseball this summer, a first for him – but isn’t neglecting other sports. He still plans to play for the Raiders’ baseball team, which he’s done since his freshman year.
“Baseball’s always something I’ve done and something I’ve loved,” Dalmolin said. “And I just feel like two sports, why not?”
And there’s also a chance he could add a third. Dalmolin’s brother, Jack, is perhaps the county’s best-ever male high school swimmer. He won three state titles as a senior for the Raiders and currently competes for the University of Georgia.
Nicky didn’t get hooked on swimming like Jack did when he was younger, but he did compete in the summer league at the Lake Forest subdivision when he was in elementary school.
And just like Carnes in middle school, another coach has spotted potential in Dalmolin: Raiders head swimming coach Tyler Martin is also an assistant coach with North’s freshman football team, and he’s been in Dalmolin’s ear about bringing his skills to the aquatic realm.
“I might actually make an appearance this year in the 50 freestyle or something,” Dalmolin said.