Deke: Jericho Nelson making a good impression on Saints
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jun 5 2012 9:41PM
He began playing football when he was four years old and he has dreamed of making it to the NFL. “I’m just trying to do everything I can to make the team. Whatever is asked if me I will do.” Jericho Nelson is off to a good start in his quest to make the New Orleans Saints roster.
Nelson has come a long way since his senior season with the Destrehan Wildcats. During his senior season Nelson rushed for 1,100 yards and twenty-two TD’s, going on to sign a scholarship to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Nelson was a part of a freshman group that helped turn the Arkansas Razorbacks into a national contender. The Razorbacks finished with a 5-7 record during Jericho’s freshman season, but from that point on Nelson and Arkansas became a national contender.
During Nelson’s final two seasons at Arkansas he helped lead the Razorbacks to a 21-5 overall record that included a 12-5 mark in SEC play. Nelson became one of the hardest-hitting players in the SEC, and several times during his final two seasons his big hits made various plays of the week!
Nelson, who many thought would get drafted, did not hear his name called over the three day NFL Draft back in late April. But not being drafted has not affected Nelson thus far as he is making the most of his shot at playing in the National Football League.
“I was a little disappointed because I got a call from a team that was thinking about drafting me in the seventh round but it did not happen. And then I got a phone call from the Saints. I was very excited to say the least, and it’s nice to be close to home,” Nelson said.
Nelson wrapped up a solid career at Arkansas with 267 tackles and four interceptions. And folks in these parts may remember one of his best days for the Hogs came against the Bayou Bengals. During his junior year, Nelson saved his best for last in the Hogs’ 31-23 win over LSU.
Jericho posted a team-high eleven tackles, including two for a loss, with a sack and a QB hurry, and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week back in 2010 as he helped lead the Hogs to a BCS Berth in the All-State Sugar Bowl.
When I mentioned that day to Jericho, he was all smiles. But that was then and this is now, and Nelson is trying to pick up as many things as he can right now during the Saints three day mini-camp. And thus far Jericho is making a good impression.
“Very impressive,” said Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo when asked how Nelson is doing thus far with the Black and Gold. “He said something in the huddle the other day that a five year veteran in this league would say. I was very impressed by that. He’s very vocal, very confident and when you are a safety in this system you have to be that way because other people are listening to you. And I’m really impressed with what he (Nelson) has done up to this point. We will see more when we put on the pads but right now very impressive,” Spagnuolo said.
Jericho is without question a physical player and should benefit when the Saints don full gear. But right now he’s doing all the right things to enhance his chances to make the Saints Roster.