The Class of 2017 prospect is the new face of the Cavalier line, as former teammate Blake Walker will look to anchor the San Jose State offensive trenches this August, leaving Nelson with the task of leading CVC’s big boys this coming fall. To become better prepared for the rigors of his senior season while also handling his lengthy recruiting process, the 6-foot-1, 295-pound Nelson has gotten closely acquainted with not just the future Spartan, but three former renowned Fresno State Bulldogs: ex-lineman Andrew Jackson, current San Diego Charger Kenny Wiggins and former head coach Pat Hill.
Nelson says all four have given him a clearer perspective on playing the center spot, plus ensuring that he handles the scrutiny at CVC the right way as the Cavs look to build off of their 8-3 mark from a year ago.
Regarding the advice he’s received from the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Walker, Nelson told Scout: “He told me to focus on my task at hand, take everything a game at a time and get good (highlight) tape.” As for the trio of former ‘Dogs, Nelson adds that “I have learned (from them) how important perfecting technique is and to be able to succeed, it takes lots of repetition and a tireless work ethic. Their goal for me is to have the best senior season possible and let my film speak for itself.”
Unlike Walker, Nelson comes with a size disadvantage the moment he steps to the line of scrimmage. But opponents who underestimate Nelson change their perception real quick, as he uses his powerful leverage, his quick feet and large hands to punish defensive linemen into the ground. Anyone who watched the CVC line on Friday nights during the 2015-16 season probably saw No. 52 controlling his blocks and burying the back of an opposing lineman’s numbers into the grass.
“I am the captain of the line. I love making calls and reading defenses. Also, I am a physical and nasty. I play with the mentality of driving my guy in the ground every play,” Nelson said.
A strong highlight film isn’t the only thing Nelson is relying on to land his first offer, though. He’s introduced himself and his mean streak in front of different college football coaches at various camps he’s traveled to, including the June Cal Poly camp and the recent Air Force camp held earlier in July.
He said along with the Mustangs and Falcons, Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Sacramento State, Stephen F. Austin and nearby Fresno State have had coaches asking about him. Nelson adds that some coaches he’s talked to haven’t shied away from him due to his size.
“I measured between 6-feet and 6-foot-1 at the camps this summer and that's on the short side for spread offenses. However I’ve had many coaches and college players tell me that with my physical style of play, I have a shot at playing at the FBS/FCS level,” Nelson said.
When Nelson isn’t traveling to camps or linking up with Walker and the former Bulldogs, he’s working out with his head personal trainer Jeremiah Green, who is the younger brother of Super Bowl 50 champion Virgil Green of the Denver Broncos.
“My strength and athleticism has improved a bunch by working out with Green. I have worked very hard on my technique since the winter with Jackson, Wiggins and the legend Hill,” Nelson said.
Nelson is aiming to become only the fourth FBS/FCS level player to come from CVC since 2005, joining a list that includes Walker, ex-Cavs quarterback Ryan Colburn (Fresno State) and former safety Brad Taylor (UTEP).
But that’s not the only goal the 3.7 student has for this season. So is hoisting the CIF Central Section Division IV crown and then celebrating a state title on West Tulare Ave. come December.
“I feel confident that we can win a section and state title if we are able to combine our power and speed and we aren't plagued by injury,” Nelson said. “This CVC team is the most cohesive and tough minded team that I have been a part of.”
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