Maurice Nelson is one 3 incoming freshmen that we are projecting to avoid a redshirt year in 2003. We've got the inside scoop on how his presence should be able to help the defense this season, and much more in this extensive look at one of the top players from the 2003 class.
Nelson is one of the top defenders to emerge out the Sumter area in quite some time. He was an All-District and All-Area performer from 2000-2002, and an All-Region and All-State performer from 2001-2002. His senior year, he recorded 137 tackles, eight sacks, four interceptions and five fumble recoveries in being named to the North-South All-Star game in Myrtle Beach.
Nelson is one of the few true freshmen that's ready to play from a physical standpoint in 2003. He specializes in several areas, but Tiger fans should watch his ability to read the quarterback and his response time once the ball goes in the air. He has a nice combination of speed and strength and should be a difference maker this year at either the whip or rover position in John Lovett's defense.
"I've been spending time off and on at Clemson since June," Nelson told CUTigers.com in early July. "I'm very excited and I'm ready to go. It's going to be a great year and right now I'm trying to prepare myself both mentally and physically to be ready to play."
The 6-1, 207-pound incoming freshman has been working hard this summer to recover from a hamstring injury he suffered early this spring in a state strength meet. "It's coming along good. I'm trying not to run 40's as fast as I did before. I'm just trying to take everything slow. I'll be ready to go by August 30th." The Sumter native has been timed at just over 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Nelson, along with Louisiana native Nick Watkins are two players that could provide some much-needed depth at linebacker this season. He is also one of the strongest players in the state coming out of high school under the direction of Crestwood strength coach Brian Jackson.
Nelson is a ferocious hitter with unparalleled aggressiveness. He'll be given a hard look at both the whip and rover positions this fall, and by all accounts- he should avoid a redshirt year. In speaking with him earlier this year, he stated on more than one occasion that he could have made a difference on the Clemson defense last season. Make no mistake about it; he's one to watch in 2003.