In just three seasons, Nicks established 14 school records, including career receptions (181), career receiving yards (2,580) and career touchdowns (21). Nicks was named first-team All-ACC, and is the only player in UNC history with more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season. He chose to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2009 NFL Draft.
Nicks had two catches for 18 yards in his NFL debut against the Washington Redskins, before leaving the game with a sprained left foot. He missed two games before returning in Week 4, when he caught his first career touchdown pass. That began a streak of four consecutive games with a touchdown, earning Nicks offensive Rookie of the Month honors for October. Nicks finished the 2009 regular season with 47 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns. His 790 yards matched Percy Harvin for the lead among rookie wide receivers, and were the third-most ever by a Giants rookie.