Reggie Nelson - Swayed from the Dark Side

If it weren't for a fortunate change in events, phenom Reggie Nelson would have been one of the bad guys in Garnet and Gold. The free safety from Palm Bay was told many different things about coming to Florida from the "meddlers" at Florida State to try and sway him. It was enough for Nelson to take a serious look at FSU, but fortunately the dark side failed and he's ready to compete against the Seminoles this Saturday.

Reggie Nelson is one of those players that is just about everywhere on the football field. Statistics-wise, for the Florida Gators, Nelson is the only player on the Gator's nationally ranked defense that appears in every defensive category except safeties. He's second in sacks with four from his FS position, fifth in tackles behind three of the front-seven players and senior safety Jarvis Herring. Nelson's also added a pass interception, pass breakup, quarterback hurry, forced fumble, and recovered fumble to his arsenal. On special teams, he's downed three punts inside the two-yard line and several more inside the ten yard line. Fact is, he's everywhere on the field.

All this could have been all for naught if Nelson was swayed by the dark side and their "outsiders" painting tales of how he would not play at Florida and would not be admitted. Despite the noise in the system, Nelson stayed true to himself and listened to his heart and the Gator coaches who were always forthright and honest with him. They assured him that he would play, and more importantly, enroll into the University of Florida. As a result, Nelson thinks there may be a little angst there when the two teams meet on Saturday.

"It was real close," Nelson said about his decision. "It came down to the wire. I chose Florida and I think they will take that to heart when they play us. It was very hard decision. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to come in with the new staff (at Florida) and play right away."

For Nelson now, it's just another game and he is looking to knock heads and help his team come away with a victory. "I don't hold this one any higher than the others, I just have to go out and play," he said. "I am looking forward to making big plays and helping my team win. They are very good, there is no disrespect, we just have to go out and play."

The Gators would be a step slower and almost a man short on defense without Reggie Nelson. He will be a huge asset for the Gators as they try and finish an unbeaten home season against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday.


Coach Urban Meyer spoke briefly to the media Wednesday night and addressed the injury front. It was mostly good news for the banged up Gators.

Junior defensive end Ray McDonald will probably see action Saturday. Meyer said he is still being treated but is expecting him to be on the field.

"I think he is going to play this week," Meyer said of McDonald. "What happens is it swells up and they drain it, and then we go from there."

As for Dallas Baker, he continues to progress and Meyer says that he is as healthy as he has been since the start of the Florida / Georgia game.

"(Baker) had a good day today," Meyer said. "He is starting to look like the Dallas Baker before the Georgia game. I didn't realize this but he hasn't been healthy before the first quarter of the Georgia game."

DeShawn Wynn remains a little bruised but should play and the rest of the team seems ready for action.

"Wynn is still banged up from the game, he has a little muscle injury in his shoulder," Meyer said. "Other than that, I think we are good."

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