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Jaguars’ Grant: Coach Nelson prepares you for life

  • Liz Bloom/Jasper County Sun Times - Mar’Quese Grant will suit up as both a quarterback and running back for the Jaguars this season.

Ever since I was 7 years old I’ve enjoyed the game of football. Everyday I would go outside and visualize myself taking the Jaguars to state. I always knew I would play running back. I just needed help from the right coaching staff.

My freshman year I met coach Jahmaal Nelson. Coach Nelson would not only talk to us, the Jaguars, about football, but preach to us about life.

Coach Nelson expects nothing but your best when you step on that field. Yeah, he’s going to get on you and ask what made you do that or say there’s a right and wrong answer to what you just did. At the end of the day, he cares for his players and wants only the best for them.

He will push you when times get hard and push you to make a positive decision. If you make a mistake he always says, “make it full speed.” That way you can learn from your mistake.

Coach Nelson has become one of the male role models I look up to.

I remember when I first heard coach tell us football isn’t everything, and at that time I didn’t believe him.

But he’s right. I’ve been told this more times than I can count, “What’s your back up? If football does not work what are you going to do?” He teaches us how to be great men in our lives. He’s taught us life isn’t easy, it’s an accumulation of the choices we make.

Coach Nelson’s dream is to see Ridgeland-Hardeeville High on top once again. He sees great potential in all his players and helps the best way he can to get everyone in college. But it’s up to the players to get an education.

I love the game of football, always have always will, but people fail to realize football is not about showing off a number. It’s about trying to reach the next level — collegiate or semipro or professional — and inspiring others. I recently came from a football camp at Clemson University and the head coach Dabo Swinney said something to remind me of that:

“Let your rear lights be their head lights,” he said. That stuck with me.

I respect everything my coach has done for me and my team and I know we will grow up to be great men.

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