Jordan Ingram reporting for FishDuck.com at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in Eugene, Ore.
Last season, a freshman became well known in Eugene for his explosive offensive and special teams contributions on the football field, seamlessly transitioning into the Oregon Ducks potent offense. Now, Charles Nelson will change his role entirely. The Ducks’ coaching staff announced that Nelson would be making the switch from receiver to cornerback for the upcoming 2015-16 football season, marking the beginning of a curious experiment for the Daytona, Beach, Fla. native.
“Right now it’s just an experiment during spring. if everything’s going well then I’ll just stay there,” Nelson said. “But if I’m not getting it and nothing really is happening, then they said I could always go back to the offense.”
For Duck fans, the news of the change comes a bit of a surprise. Nelson’s cameo appearances on defense last season hardly suggested a permanent shift to defensive role. However, Oregon’s young, multi-talented athlete wants to do anything to help his team.
“They came to me and asked me how I felt about it,” Nelson said. “Like I’ve said before, I just want to help the team any way possible. Whichever way that is, that’s okay with me.”
— Andy McNamara (@McNamaraUO) March 31, 2015
The 5’8″, 170 lb. sophomore played safety for Seabreeze high school and has demonstrated a remarkable ability to make plays in different situations on the field.
Oregon receivers coach Matt Lubick spoke to Nelson’s potential as an athlete and indicated that this could potentially become a joint venture for the young playmaker, seeing time on both sides of the ball.
“We’re kind of experimenting,” Lubick said. ”[Charles] has the flexibility to play both ways. Because he does know offense and he is getting more familiar with defense. So we can have a package for him, let him develop and see what happens,” Lubick said.
Ultimately, Nelson’s positive attitude suggests he feels comfortable with the decision and remains open-minded to the responsibilities associated with learning a new position.
“It’s going good. It’s a new beginning. A lot of things to learn, new coaches to take advice from. I’m just learning as I go,” Nelson said.
Top photo by Kevin Cline