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Reggie Nelson: One to watch

By Times Staff
Published September 1, 2006


REGGIE NELSON, CORNERBACK

NATURALLY GIFTED

In the middle of a game last season, an opponent's running back dropped the ball on the ground. With his back to the loose ball, Reggie Nelson turned and fell on it as if he had eyes in the back of his head.

He is known among teammates as "The Natural."

"He just has a knack of knowing where the ball is," teammate Joe Cohen said. "He was born to play football."

THE BIG CHANGE

The former safety is moving to cornerback on a squad with serious questions in the secondary. Nelson has to become the leader, quickly.

A LONG JOURNEY

The story of Reggie Nelson started on a field in Kansas, where he found himself months out of Palm Bay High digging postholes. Exhausted, with blistered hands and a mother fighting cancer, he wanted to give up on college and football and come home numerous times. Family and friends talked him out of it. Now Nelson could be destined for an NFL career.