Full Nelson

After lettering for three years as a University of Tennessee defensive back in 1986, '87 and '88, Knoxville native Tony Nelson is hoping to see a talented nephew carry on the family tradition with the Vols.

Michael Nelson, a 6-3, 180-pounder, would love to do just that. He attended last weekend's UT Senior Camp and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"It was real good," he said. "I liked it a lot. I liked the one-on-ones the best. You get to show what you can do – run routes against a DB, catch the ball, just stick it."

Uncle Tony has told Michael about running through the "T" formed by the UT band and all of the other thrills associated with being a Vol football player.

"He told me it's a good school," Michael said. "He said it's a great environment, especially the atmosphere at the stadium on game day."

Whereas Uncle Tony made his mark breaking up passes, Michael makes his mark by catching passes. He says he caught 32 balls for around 450 yards and six touchdowns for Central High School last fall. He also played strong safety and returned kicks but he believes his chief attribute is his receiving ability.

"My best game came against Lenoir City," he recalled. "I had three catches for 154 yards, with touchdowns of 60 and 35 yards. I also had three tackles on defense that night, including one for loss."

Nelson enjoyed meeting Tennessee's coaches at the Senior Camp, but one coach in particular.

"Trooper Taylor's something else," Nelson said with a laugh. "He coaches the position I play (receiver) and he's a real motivator. He's cool. All of ‘em are cool but he was the one I bonded with the most."

Nelson says he isn't sure which schools are recruiting him because "Coach (Joel) Helton won't tell us who's looking at us. He's afraid we'll get the big head or something."

Asked which schools he's most interested in, Nelson rattled off five in short order – Tennessee, Clemson, Florida, UT-Chattanooga and South Carolina.

Living in Knoxville, Nelson has ample opportunity to follow the Vols. He attended the 2005 UT-Ole Miss game and dropped by to check out the Orange & White game two months ago.

Nelson would love to follow Uncle Tony's footsteps and attend Tennessee. The experience would be even better if one of his Central High teammates could come along.

"Orlando Blair is my man," Nelson said. "He's 6-3 and 180, just like me, and he also plays receiver. He attended the UT camp, too. Orlando had something like 120 tackles and 19 sacks as a defensive end last year."


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