Nelson balances priorities

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    By CHRISTINE JACKSON

    He’s doing it all.

    Football, school, family.

    Tyler Nelson is one of BYU’s starting defensive backs and also one of Provo’s busiest men.

    Born in Provo, Nelson grew up surrounded by BYU football. He said he started to play flag football at age eight and tackle at age 12. He played on his Orem High football team for three years, where he was all-state for two years and played with the 3A-4A all-star team in Australia.

    Nelson was recruited by schools such as UCLA, Dartmouth, and Colorado, but chose to stay in Provo and attend BYU. He said playing here “was always something that was in the back of my mind, but I never really thought I would end up here.”

    The choice proved to be a positive one, especially when Nelson decided to take two years off of school to serve a mission in the Netherlands. The time off slowed his football career, and he said, “It was hard. It took me pretty close to a year before I was back in shape again.”

    “I don’t think at any other university you’d be able to serve a mission and play when you got back,” he said.

    While at BYU, Nelson has started for the past two seasons, been a Cougar Club Scholar-Athlete, a coaches’ defensive back of the week, and had a recorded total of 40 unassisted tackles, 27 assisted tackles, and 10 pass deflections.

    Nelson is the top candidate to start for the Cougars this season. In a recent news release, safeties coach Barry Lamb said, “Tyler is the only one that has played in a game situation for us, everyone else will be brand new this season and everyone will be competing for the other starting position.”

    Besides football, Nelson is an accounting major, a husband, and a father.

    He said he will begin interviewing next month for future employment in his field. He has taken his schoolwork seriously, balancing athletics with academics.

    “I don’t know that I would ever be able to say that I was satisfied completely. I always feel like I could do a little better,” he said.

    Nelson said balancing football, school and family has not been easy, and staying sane has been the biggest challenge.

    “You have practice in the day, study and go to class in the afternoon and night, and I try to spend time with my family at night. It pretty much drowns my days and my weeks,” he said.

    After being at BYU for close to five years, Nelson is looking forward to finishing.

    “It’s going to be nice to be able to get on with life. I’m excited to graduate,” he said.

    Nelson said he is also looking forward to the 1999 season.

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