Nuttall can't wait play

Nathan Nuttall is eager to play his first Division I college football game after redshirting last season.

Nathan Nuttall is eager to play his first Division I college football game after redshirting last season. And there is a good chance the freshman strong safety could be starting on Aug. 31 at Texas as he tries to hold onto the starting slot that he earned after spring practice.

"Nathan really had a good spring," safeties coach Clayton Carlin. "He's very intelligent, he tackles well and he gets after it." Nuttall came to NMSU from Clovis, where he helped lead the Wildcats to the 2001 Class State Football Championship as a safety and running back.

Last year, he sat out, learned the ropes and gained a better grasp on what NMSU wanted. "I grew up a lot last year, learned what is expected of me and I feel like I am better this year," said Nuttall, who had nine pounds to his 6-foot, 201-pound frame.

"I play hard on every play, I am focused on what I have do. But I'm excited, I'm ready to play in the opener against Texas. It's going to be a challenge for our whole team, especially the secondary. But I don't worry about the polls and where Texas is at or anything like that. I just want to go out there and play hard and do the best I can and try to get better.

"My goal when I came here was to be the starter and I am. I know I have tough competition, but that's good. I have to be ready to play all the time and be on top of my game."

Nuttall is part of a safety quartet that is very young. Behind Nuttall at strong safety is another redshirt freshman in Eric Carrie, while the free safety position features two sophomores in Matt Griebel and Shurkee Shabazz. Only Griebel played an extensive amount of safety last year.

"We're young, but this is a group that is very talented," Carlin said. "Ultimately it's going to come down to technique and fundamentals. That's where we have to get better every day. I really like this group though. Each guy has the potential to get better."


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