CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — A spark plug on and off the field, Tahveon Nicholson holds up to his nickname.

“I’m Taz, so I believe I’m out spoken,” the Illinois cornerback said.

Nicholson is constantly bringing the energy to Illini practices and games, something that the sophomore defensive back has done since he was little.

“I got the name when I was part learning when I was five,” Nicholson said. “I played offense and I was just doing like, I’d get the ball and I was running basically back and forth and my name is kind of hard to say so they just ended up calling me Tazmanian and I just stuck with it until now and it’s crazy.”

Nicholson got a shot to play last season as a redshirt freshman, taking Tony Adams’ spot in the starting lineup for two games but the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Florida native struggled overall, recording 11 tackles and two pass breakups. With Adams now in the NFL playing for the New York Jets, Taz has another big chance to get on the field.

“I have a big opportunity,” Nicholson said. “A big opportunity to just change me and my family’s life and I’m just going to take a heave and just take it day by day. I ain’t in no rush.”

“Between Taz, Terrell (Jennings), Tyler Strain, and Tyson Rooks I think they’re all pushing and trying to push for that second lockdown spot,” Illinois secondary coach Aaron Henry said.

While the cornerback position opposite of Devon Witherspoon is up for grabs, Taz says it’s good to have a solid player like Devon by his side.

“It’s just me and Spoon now, you know we’re floateries,” Nicholson said. “So we connect a lot. It’s kind of easy to communicate with him and stuff like that. It’s really fun.”

And with his Looney Tunes nickname, Taz is ready to wreak havoc on opponents this season.