Players of the Pine Belt: Seminary's Nathan Pickering

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - "Great kid, comes from a good family, good parents, hard-working kid, makes good grades, never in trouble."

Those were the first words out of Seminary football coach Brian Rials' mouth when asked about junior defensive end Nathan Pickering. Not long after, he described Nathan's prowess on the football field. And the fact that he's quite large. All fitting attributes for a footballer who's been playing most of his life.

""Six when I was playing rookie," Pickering said. "I started at Collins, I played rookie but I skipped midgets because I was overweight. I was too big to play for midgets so I had to go straight to my pee-wee year. I've always been the only person that stands out, always."

Nathan says he's always been the biggest kid in class growing up. But it wasn't until his seventh grade year that Rials recognized his potential on the football field.

"Yeah, well he came here in the seventh grade, first year we saw him," Rials said. "Of course he played guard for us and we put in a special play where we had a little guard around play for him just designed for him again to touch the ball. We started realizing then, he's pretty special. But he's always been that big kid with pretty good athletic ability for that size too, you know."

Coach Rials says Nathan's 72 tackles, including 26 for loss, last season marked a breakout year. Nathan's potential has been recognized as he's been offered scholarships by several division I schools. More importantly, Nathan sees potential within himself.

"I got the weight, I got the height, I'm a good pass rusher, I got speed, I got quick feet," he said. "Not to try to boast myself but I mean, I got the great size to become a good defensive lineman."

Nathan has big dreams, hoping to join just a handful of Seminary Bulldogs to make it to the D-1 level. But he's still got two years left of high school so right now he's focused on this coming fall.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play for college, go to the NFL so personally, that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "And also, I'm trying to make the team better because we got a lot of great players on our team so it's up to us individually to make all of us a better team. You know, to come together."