HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - “I’ve been waking up 4:30 [a.m.],” said Picasso Nelson Jr. “4:30, before the sun comes up.”
There's been no shred of daylight to waste since Nelson Jr. graduated from Southern Miss as he works toward a dream of making it to the NFL.
Actually, Nelson’'s been putting in work ever since his high school days at Oak Grove.
"Biggest thing is he always has that smile on his face,” said former Oak Grove head coach Nevil Barr. “In practice in the August heat, he was always smiling.
Now I do remember a receiver one time, him making a block. And it sounded like a shotgun going off. And I was thinking, ‘man.’"
He's just 5-foot-10, 195 pounds but the defensive back packs a punch.
It wasn't hard for Nelson to imagine suiting up in the NFL one day with a cousin, uncle and his father all playing professional football.
”I think at like three years old I told him, ‘Dad I'm going to be better than you when I grow up,’” Nelson said. “And just from then, it's always been about being the best I can. I really just have learned football throughout my whole life and not only just played it, but became a student of the game."
Sitting out the 2017 season at Southern Miss with an ankle injury, Nelson learned just how much he loved football because of how much he hated being on the sidelines.
It's that passion that will continue to drive him, no matter what happens during this weekend's NFL Draft.
“The work has been done and there’s still more work to do, more to prove,” Nelson said. “There’s nothing I can control from here on out so I’m just going to relax, spend time with family and whenever I get the call and find out where I’m going, I’m gonna go work out because a lot of people want to just make it to the NFL but I want to be great in the NFL."