The Hollandale-Simmons Blue Devils nearly played for a state championship in 2014. A season later Tavares Johnson's team has the look of a contender. After a blowout win over Leland, the Devils are 4-0 and appear to be on a collision course with district rival Shaw.
"I am having a good season. We're having a break out year again, Nero Nelson said. "I just came in this year hoping to have a better year than last year. We really want to make it to state. I want to help my team the best way that I can.
"The seniors want to show the underclassmen what it's like to play big time ball. I want to be a leader to my team and be a role model to these younger guys on the team. I want them to know that they can do the same things that we've done and be a great team."
The Blue Devils are more than a one man show as they showed Friday night. Simmons was up 34-6 before Nelson ever touched the ball. Sophomore running back Marquez Pam did the heavy lifting against Leland rushing for over 200 yards.
"He is just a sophomore and he is going to be another big time D1 prospect," Nelson said with a smile. "You'll be calling him too. We have a lot of guys that have talent on offense and defense. I want those guys to be better than me and be able to do some big things."
Nelson has done his share of big things and that has earned him a spot in the Mississippi State signing class for 2016. Nelson reports that his relationship with the Bulldogs gets stronger every day.
"Coach (David) Turner is my recruiter," Nelson said. "He is a great coach and just a great guy. I feel like they just have a great coaching staff that I can work with. I have a great relationship with Coach (DeShea) Townsend too. He is great at working with the DBs and it would be great to work with an NFL player.
"I prefer offense. I feel like I am deadly with the ball in my hands, but I am willing to go play DB if that's what the team needs me to do."
Nelson's high school head coach agrees with Nelson's assessment when it comes to his projected position.
"I think he needs to be on offense," Johnson. "He can run the ball with authority or he can get outside and use his speed. With his kind of speed, just get him the football."
Before Nelson heads off to the college ranks, Simmons High still has a need for him as they chase a state title.
"Nelson has been very big for us," Johnson explained. "Any time we need a big play, he steps in and gives it to us. He just does an outstanding job for us. He's versatile, agile and mobile."