Local player chooses military over football on National Signing Day

Donald Nelson

It’s National Signing Day for athletes all over and colleges across the world will be receiving some of the best talents high schools have to offer.

Here at Theodore High School, six senior football players committed to their school of their choice, but there is one senior not at the signing table.

Meet linebacker and running back Donald Nelson. Nelson was scouted by several D-2 schools, including Bellhaven and UT Chattanooga. He is one football player that made the choice not to accept any of the offers from colleges. But why would an athlete turn down a free ride to colleges across the country playing a sport that he loves.

“I decided to go the military because it’s been in my mind. It’s what I decided to do,” said the Theodore senior.

Nelson said he’s always wanted to attend college. He’s even wanted to play football on the collegiate level, but life had a bigger influence on this decision than he expected.

“My dad was in the military. My uncle was in the military. I just decided to follow in their footsteps.”

Nelson said his dad supported his decision from day one. Mom, on the other hand, wasn’t too receptive.

“My mom said I needed to go to school, get a degree, try football and work on my talent.”

Nelson said his mother now supports his decision to join the Marines 100 percent. He said God, his family and his coaches were all very supportive during this stressful time and he thanks them for all their encouraging words.

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