Redshirt freshman Lamonte Nelms, "Nasty Nelms" as he was called in high school, has really benefited from redshirting last season. The redshirt year has allowed Lamonte to grow and to get into the weight room with Coach Swanger and his staff. The result has been an extra inch in height (6'3") and 30 pounds of girth (230 lbs). Lamonte was, sort of, rewarded this spring when the staff moved him from safety to linebacker.
Most defensive backs would shy away from moving closer to the line of scrimmage, but Lamonte has embraced the demanding change. "I like it a lot. The only real difference is I deal with more contact each and every play so I'm still trying to get used to that. But I like the physical play. In high school I played safety but came up to stop the run a lot."
There is no doubt the redshirt year benefited him physically, but it was still tough mentally. "It was kind of hard to sit back and watch from the sidelines and root for the guys, but it was a learning experience. It helped teach me how to prepare for a game. Now I realize it was good for me."
Because Coach Dantonio had to assemble his staff so late in the year, his first recruiting class was the product of a lot of scrambling. Lamonte recalled the experience. "I was recruited by Miami of Ohio. Then Coach Narduzzi made the switch here. He wanted me to come check out things here, but I had kind of made my mind up to go to Miami. Then my mother convinced me to use my last visit. I came down here, and UC really had everything I wanted. Originally it was between Toledo and Miami, but coming here gave me everything. Here I would have the engineering and the football." Lamonte is a civil engineering major.
A similar recruiting story could be told by several of his teammates as Lamonte explained. "Three other guys and I were interested in Miami, but we switched and came here." Those other three players included Trevor Canfield (OG), Brad Bury (FB), and Kevin McCullough (LB).
At Ravenna High School, Nelms was impressive both on and off the field. He was named Division III Defensive Player of the Year and was a member of his school's National Honor Society. He's yet another example of the quality young men in this program.
This spring Lamonte was getting many of the reps with the #1 defense until an unfortunate kneecap injury during a drill knocked him out of practice and the spring game, but he expects to be back at 100% when practice resumes this August.
Don't be surprised if "Nasty Nelms" wins one of those vacant linebacking jobs next fall. He has all the tools to be an outstanding defender.