With the loss of Rodney Thomas, Brandon Jamison, Rodney Feaster, and Kelvin Morris, the Tigers are a little thin at linebacker entering the 2003 season. As a result, Roosevelt Nelson, a redshirt sophomore will be depended on to provide depth at one of the most important positions in John Lovett's defense.
Nelson played mostly on special teams last year as a redshirt freshman, but he'll be depended on much more heavily in 2003. Nelson was ranked as the #22 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep during his senior season at Crestwood. he rushed for 700 yards on offense, recorded 127 tackles, seven sacks, 21 tackles for loss and three interceptions on defense.
Nelson had a good spring and currently sits as the second team linebacker behind senior John Leake. Under the direction of new linebackers' coach David Blackwell, Nelson should be in position to do some great things for the Clemson defense this season.
Nelson is the older brother of incoming freshman rover Maurice Nelson. "I'm looking forward to getting more playing time this season," said Nelson. "It will also be nice to play with Maurice at the same time."
The redshirt sophomore has a lot of confidence for the team in 2003. "Everybody has been working really hard this offseason and if we don't get hurt by injuries, we are going to be in good shape. Injuries have really hurt us the last couple of years," added Nelson.
A lot of people are already talking about Maurice's younger brother...including coach Bowden. "Having his brother Roosevelt here will give him a good idea of the intensity that is required," Bowden said of Maurice Nelson. "With the loss of Eric Sampson and Ronny Delusme being hurt, there will be some opportunities for playing time there."
Nelson is going to experience quite a change in playing time this year. After seeing action in 11 games almost exclusively as a special teams player, he'll be thrown into the mix in a big way starting with the season opener against Georgia. John Leake is an animal on the field, and even though he won't like to come off, Nelson should be more than adequate to come in and give him a break.