/seasons/2017/contrib/20180426fa6l2j

The Waiting Game: Nelson realistic as draft begins

More news about: Manchester

As many will be across America tonight, Dakota Nelson's eyes, ears, and cell phone will be checking in and sometimes glued to the information coming from AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

Yes, Nelson is a dyed-in-the-wool pro football fan ... like many millions. The 2018 National Football League draft offers something more for the Manchester University senior.

Something that began on the quiet practice areas at Akron and Ball State Universities in the months before during pro day tryouts and workouts -- an opportunity. All accounts from the Spartans' coaching staff and others in attendance note that the Black and Gold standout opened eyes, but the Fairland, Indiana, native still feels there are things to prove.

"I think too many people are fixated into what you have on paper such as what you run a 40 in, what you bench and squat and so on," he admitted. "To me, there doesn't seem to be enough attention on what you do on the field. I've seen guys in pro days that can lift a lot and can run and jump amazing times and distances … they aren't football players though. They're freak athletes.

"I've heard it (all my life)," he added. "You can't bench this or squad that, your 40 time isn't where it should be ... Look what I did on the field and my heart for the game. If it doesn't happen this year, the journey is just beginning. I felt excellent about what I did (at Akron and Ball State). I represented myself and the university ... catching every ball and going through the workouts as hard as I could. There are no regrets."

The adage of patience being a virtue is precisely the mind-set that the Spartans' all-time touchdown producer, multi-time all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honoree and former NCAA Division III national statistical leader has.

"It's just a waiting game now," Nelson mused. "I'm realistic that my name won't be called (in the NFL draft). It's the days after I'm looking forward to – a call for rookie camp, a practice squad … any chance. This time next year, if I'm not on a team, I'm going to go back to as many pro days as I can and retake the shot. You see that at the pro days and tryouts you go to … there are guys that have been coming back and keep doing so. They have the drive and spirit to keep playing a game they love … like me. All in all, I'm thankful and blessed enough to even get this far in my career … that, in itself, is an achievement."

Still moving towards a possibility of putting on the pads, lacing up the shoes and being on the gridiron that's led Dakota Nelson and therein Manchester University athletics towards success.

Aug. 30: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Alma at Baldwin Wallace
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7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Stevenson
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7:00 PM
University of New England at Coast Guard
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7:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Johns Hopkins
7:00 PM
Hamline at Buena Vista
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7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at McMurry
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
7:37 PM
Rowan at Widener
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
UW-Platteville at East Texas Baptist
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Aug. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Utica at St. Lawrence
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
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7:00 PM
WPI at Anna Maria
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7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
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7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Millikin at Hope
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7:00 PM
TCNJ at FDU-Florham
7:00 PM
Becker at MIT
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7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
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7:00 PM
Dean at Curry
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8:00 PM
St. Olaf at Crown
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
TBA
Southern Virginia at Christopher Newport
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Morrisville State at Norwich
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12:00 PM
Buffalo State at Bridgewater State
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Ursinus at Bethany
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Salve Regina at Worcester State
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12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
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SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
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12:00 PM
Thomas More at N.C. Wesleyan
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1:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Misericordia
1:00 PM
Husson at Union
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1:00 PM
Apprentice at Greensboro
1:00 PM
RPI at Allegheny
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
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Cortland at Fitchburg State
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1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
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Westminster (Pa.) at Wittenberg
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1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Dickinson
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Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
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1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Guilford
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1:00 PM
Gallaudet at Alvernia
1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Alfred State
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Shenandoah at Methodist
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1:00 PM
Thiel at Alfred
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
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Susquehanna at Lycoming
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Washington and Jefferson at St. John Fisher
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Oberlin at Kalamazoo
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Hartwick at Wilkes
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St. Vincent at Ithaca
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Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
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Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
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Plymouth State at Castleton
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UW-Oshkosh at Carthage
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Grinnell at Lawrence
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
1:30 PM
Wooster at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Albion at Defiance
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2:00 PM
Wilmington at Earlham
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2:00 PM
Augustana at Coe
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Stevens Point
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Augsburg
2:00 PM
Aurora at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Concordia-Moorhead
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
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2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at UW-River Falls
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
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2:00 PM
UW-Stout at St. John's
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2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at Loras
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Bethel at Simpson
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2:00 PM
Beloit at Concordia-Chicago
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Southwestern Assemblies at Austin
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2:10 PM
Trinity Int'l at St. Thomas
3:00 PM
Puget Sound at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:00 PM
La Verne at Whitworth
6:00 PM
Adrian at Ohio Northern
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6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
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6:00 PM
Capital at Mount St. Joseph
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Benedictine at Franklin
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6:00 PM
Central at Northwestern (Minn.)
6:00 PM
Willamette at Simon Fraser
7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
7:00 PM
Geneva at Marietta
7:00 PM
Rochester at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
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7:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Mount Union
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7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Otterbein
7:00 PM
Olivet at Heidelberg
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UW-Whitewater at Dubuque
7:00 PM
Chicago at Washington U.
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Anderson at North Park
8:00 PM
Illinois College at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
8:00 PM
Greenville at Wartburg
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Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
8:00 PM
Denison at Southwestern
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Carleton at Macalester
10:00 PM
Pacific at Chapman
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10:00 PM
George Fox at Redlands
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10:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Arizona Christian
10:00 PM
Lewis-Clark Valley at Pomona-Pitzer
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Dec. 9: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 43, at UW-Oshkosh 40
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Brockport 0
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Dec. 15: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 12, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 0
@ Salem, Va.
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