Matt Nelson Enjoying First Year with Iowa Football

Sept. 17, 2014

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa – With the Iowa football team playing just three true freshmen in the first three games of the season, there are a number of young Hawkeyes who are using their first year on campus to get settled in to a routine, not only on the practice field, but in the classroom and making the adjustment to college life.

    One of those first year players is Cedar Rapids native Matt Nelson, who a year ago was in the process of earning elite all-state honors while playing at Xavier HS. Nelson, a 6-foot-8, 255-pound defensive end, is happy with the start of the year, and glad to be attending college just down the interstate from his hometown.


    “Everything is good, I haven’t got lost yet, so that’s a positive,” said Nelson. “Football is going well and classes are going well, so I can’t complain about anything. Being close to home is definitely a security blanket; it’s nice knowing that family and friends are close by.”

    As is the case with most first year players, Nelson is finding out there is a lot to learn about the game of football, especially on the college level. Nelson finds himself working on the little things while practicing with his teammates and playing on the scout team each week.

    “I’m really just working on my technique, learning formations and those types of things.” said Nelson. “I’m getting to know all the defenses and everything about the system. Off the field, I am trying to eat as much food as I can and lift as much weight as I can; just do what Coach (Chris) Doyle asks and follow his plan as far as strength and conditioning.”

    Outside of football, Nelson knows his first semester in the classroom is just the beginning of his career path. His goal is a career in the medical profession, and he knows it won’t happen overnight.

    “I want to be an orthopedic surgeon, so hopefully obtain that goal with a lot of years of schooling,” said Nelson. “It starts freshman year with the classes. This is a bigger campus for me, coming from a smaller school, but so far, so good. Getting around can be a little difficult, but everything is going well.”

    While staying busy with football and his academic schedule, Nelson has still been able to follow his high school teammates at Xavier. “I try to follow the team and all the scores each week with how they are doing,” said Nelson.

    Iowa (2-1) is on the road for the first time Saturday, traveling to face Pittsburgh (11:01 a.m. CT, ESPNU). The Hawkeyes begin Big Ten Conference play Sept. 27 at Purdue.

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