Former DHS star Nelson making big impact at UA

Former Destrehan High School standout running back/defensive back Jerico Nelson has made quite an impact at a new position at the University of Arkansas.

The 5-9 ½, 215-pound junior made the switch from safety to outside linebacker for the Hogs in the spring of 2010 and he is one of the leading tacklers on the squad.

Last week in Arkansas’ 49-14 victory over Vanderbilt, Nelson led the team in tackles with seven, he had one pass break and one interception that he returned 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Last season Nelson started seven games at safety for Arkansas, but he was not hesitant to make the switch to outside linebacker.

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino is very pleased with Nelson’s defensive switch.

“Jerico is not the biggest, fastest or the strongest player we have on defense, but I am not so sure he is not the most football intelligent player we have on defense and he has something you can’t teach and that is great football instincts,” Petrino said. “Jerico is always around the football and he is a tough and very physical player.”

Petrino said that he knew Nelson would pick up the position change and he was hopeful the former Destrehan star would physically hold up.

“I knew Jerico could mentally do the job at outside linebacker, but I was not totally convinced he could take on those much bigger blockers and defeat them at the point of attack on a consistent basis,” he said. “I worried about how he could physically take on a rugged SEC schedule playing so close to the line of scrimmage, but he has gotten the job done. He does a very good job slipping blocks and running around the bigger blockers.

“Again, he is like a magnet for the ball and every week he is on top of our tackles list.”

Nelson is second on the Arkansas team in tackles with 52 and he also has five tackles for losses in 2010.


Johnson’s Play Helps Defeat the Irish

Former Destrehan High School star wide receiver Damaris Johnson played a huge part in the biggest win in Tulsa football history.

Saturday evening in a nationally televised game on NBC,  Johnson accounted for 208 all-purpose yards in Tulsa’s 28-27 victory over Notre Dame.

The 5-8, 170-pound wide receiver/return man caught four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown and he returned three punts for 72 yards.

On one of the punt returns, he brought the ball 59 yards into the end zone.

Johnson also rushed for 36 yards on six carries and he returned two kickoffs for 54 yards.

It was the 14th time in Johnson’s career at Tulsa that he accounted for more than 200 all-purpose yards.

“All of your life you hear and read about playing in Notre Dame Stadium and to come here and win a game like this is special,” Johnson said. “I am just glad to be a small part of the victory and I know it means so much for Tulsa football. I just had a feeling we would play well.

“We weren’t intimidated by Notre Dame. We respect them, but we wanted to show everyone we can play some good football at Tulsa also.”

Johnson’s 208 all-purpose yards moved him to 20th all-time in college football history in all-purpose yards in a career and he is just a junior.

Johnson was voted the “Player of the Game” and was immediately interviewed by NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan after the victory over the Irish.


Victorian A Bright Spot for Tech

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have been through a tough (3-5) 2010 football campaign, but cornerback Josh Victorian is playing the best football of his college career.

The 5-10, 185-pound senior cornerback from Destrehan High School has totaled 20 tackles, is tied for the team-lead with two interceptions and he is leading the team with seven pass break-ups and nine pass defense plays.

Despite getting defeated 49-20 by Boise State, the former Wildcat defender excelled in coverage against one of the top passing teams in the country.

“We are in a bit of a transition with a new coaching staff and new players, but Josh has played outstanding for us,” said Tech cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis. “He is quick in the hips, he has very good turn and run skills, he has excellent recovery speed and he finds the football quickly in flight. He is one of our leaders on defense.”

The former Texas Tech and San Francisco 49er safety says he wishes he had more time to coach Victorian.

“Josh picked up the new techniques we taught real quick,” he said. “He has a good feel for the position. I am selfish and wish he could be with me longer, but I really feel as though he has a shot to play at the next level.”


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