• John Macon Gillespie

Nelson Looking To Prove Himself At Fortius

It is a busy semester for Northwest Rankin junior Justin Nelson. Spring football is approaching fast, but currently his focus is on track and field, where competes in the triple jump and hurdles. That is just one part of the equation for the future business major, though.

Yes, future business major, because when you maintain a 4.0 GPA as the talented athlete does, you tend to think of your academic future.

“I truly believe that education is important and having a 4.0 means a lot,” Nelson told SES Mississippi. “It shows that the work I put in during class pays off and I’m sure it will be beneficial to me in the future.”

While Nelson loves football and is driven by the thought of playing beyond his high school career, he sees the game as an outlet to other things in life. He hopes that through excelling on the field and in the classroom that he is providing an example to his brothers. He also cherishes the relationships and bonds that have originated because of him playing football.

“What drives me is my desire to play at the next level and beyond,” Nelson said. “I also look forward to the educational and career opportunities playing football will present.”

“I also want to be an example for my younger brothers. I wan them to see me as someone that puts their heart into whatever they strive to accomplish. What I love most about football is the relationships you build through it. Football only lasts for so long but relationships with coaches, teammates and even opponents can last for a lifetime.”

Nelson was a reliable target for the Cougar offense last season, finishing the season with 50 catches for 530 yards and four touchdowns. He helped his team to 7-5 record, but they just missed the playoffs. He expects more from himself and the Cougars this Fall.

“I expect to make the playoffs this season. Coach (Toby)Collums has us making strides in the right direction as a program. I feel this will be a breakthrough season for Northwest Rankin football,” Nelson said.

“Personally, I just want to do whatever I can to benefit the team. If that means catching 10 balls a game, I’ll do it. If that means blocking most of the game because the running game is working, I’m willing to do that as well.”

This offseason Nelson has carved time out of his busy schedule to attend the Fortius Project combine at MRA on April 2nd. It is a chance for him to show where he stands amongst his peers.

“I believe Fortius is a great opportunity to showcase my talent and expose my name. I believe I am one of the best wide receivers in my class and this camp gives me a chance to show that,” Nelson said.

His ability to get open is what he feels will stick out when he competes at Fortius. However, that is not the only skill he plans to display in an impressive way on April 2nd.

“I’m a great route-runner and I catch with my hands. I’m quick enough to get around a corner playing press and shifty enough to create space between me and a safety,” He explained.

More importantly Nelson is looking to improve and get better. Also he is looking to gauge where he is after running track this semester.

“I want to improve my overall speed and explosiveness,” He offered. “Track is currently helping my in those areas, but I’m not content with where I am. Fortius gives me the chance to see how far I’ve come in my training and how much more I need to do.”

**Photo by Boyds Edwards Photography.

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