Quick Hits with Maurice Nelson

One of the Tigers' top recruits from the 2003 recruiting class is Crestwood linebacker Maurice Nelson. Nelson talks about his decision to come to Clemson and his role with the Tigers' defense next year in this extensive report.

Maurice Nelson
Crestwood High School (Sumter, SC)
NR: 17 Rating: ****

THE STATS: Nelson recorded over 115 tackles and 2 interceptions as a senior with 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. His junior season, he registered 141 total tackles and 5 sacks.

STRENGTH: Nelson combines the perfect combination of speed and strength. He was a state strength champion this past year in his weight class and most experts agree that he's ready to compete at the collegiate level from a physical standpoint.

WEAKNESS: In a perfect world, Nelson would have the speed to handle an opposing team's top receiver. He'll need to continue to work on his speed at Clemson University, but he's already close enough to crack the two-deep next season.

WHY CLEMSON? "Clemson just feels right to me, and they are recruiting me to play rover in their defense and that fits me really well," said Nelson. "I've got the ability to recognize what an offense is doing in passing situations, and I can really use that to my advantage next year."

"I watched how they played on defense in 2002, and I there were situations then where I know I could have made a difference because I knew what was coming from the quarterback. The coaches have said that I'll have a chance to play early, so I'm expecting to compete for a spot next season once I get there. Coach Lovett has told me that they want to try me out at rover first, or I may also have the opportunity to play as the ‘whip' linebacker too."

HS COACH QUOTE: "Nelson was the enforcer on our team, I see him more as an outside linebacker or strong safety at the next level," said Crestwood assistant coach Brian Jackson.

"He has worked extremely hard the last four years on getting his speed faster. He has the speed to cover the deep ball, and with a 36" vertical jump can get up with the big boys. He likes to make the INT as much as anyone, but not as much as making the hit. We played him a lot as a junior as a rover. We brought him up to OLB for the quick blitz to the backfield, and against passing teams we tended to keep him a little deeper. He's going to make a good one at Clemson, there's no doubt about it."

TOMMY BOWDEN: "He's in between that glorified safety and whip linebacker position. He's a real active player who made a lot of tackles and having his brother Roosevelt here will give him a good idea of the intensity that is required. With the loss of Eric Sampson and Ronny Delusme being hurt, there will be some opportunities for playing time."

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