Solon senior Trevor NelsonRyan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The question for Kevin Miller was direct. What does Trevor Nelson do for your football team?
A better question for the veteran Solon coach might be, what doesn’t Nelson do?
“He is absolutely invaluable to our team, he serves so many purposes,” Miller explained. “He does so many things for our football team whether he is running the ball, catching the ball or leading our defense and getting guys in position. He is the long snapper, he does it all. He really does it all.”
Nelson has been a jack-of-all trades for No.7 Solon (9-1) this season, helping the Spartans return to the Class 3A quarterfinals for the first time since 2013.
The senior has done a little bit of everything for a Solon team that brings an eight-game winning streak into Friday’s quarterfinal showdown with second-ranked Pella (10-0) at Spartan Stadium.
More importantly, everything Nelson has done this season, he’s done well.
Nelson leads Solon in tackles from his middle linebacker spot and has accounted for 383 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns.
He’s long snapped, he’s returned punts and kicks, he’s even converted an extra point.
“I’m whatever coach Miller wants me to be I guess,” Nelson said with a shrug. “Whatever works out the best for the team that is what I am.”
That attitude has helped Nelson excel in his Swiss Army knife-type role for the Spartans.
Whatever needs to be done, Nelson is first in line to get it done.
“What I am most proud of is how he has embraced his role and how he has flourished within that role,” Miller said. “That just says a lot about the type of young man that he is and I’m really pleased about what he has done for our football team.
It hasn’t been a surprise to see Nelson making an impact, especially on defense.
Nelson racked up a team-high 61.5 tackles last fall in his first varsity season and also finished second on the team with 223 rushing yards.
This season Nelson has picked up where he left off on defense.
The 6-foot, 180-pound senior has 29 solo stops and three sacks among his team-high 43 tackles helping Solon post three shutouts and hold opponents to 241 yards and 11 points per game.
“I had really high hopes for our defense at the beginning of the year but we have exceeded my hopes I guess,” Nelson said. “We have played really well. We can get always be better but I’m really proud of our defense.”
It is on offense where Nelson has expanded his role and not just in terms of production.
Nelson has become a versatile weapon for the Spartans, lining up in a variety of spots including fullback, running back and receiver.
“He’s invaluable to our offense,” Miller said. “He brings a lot of important skill sets. He can catch the football, he can run the football, he’s a good blocker and he’s a playmaker when we get the ball in his hands.”
After scoring one touchdown a year ago Nelson has become instant offense as a senior.
Nelson has touched the ball 35 times on offensive plays from scrimmage and scored touchdowns on 11 of those plays.
“When coach puts me in there, he expects me to do my job and I do my best and I try my hardest to get my job done whatever that is,” Nelson said. “If it’s catching a pass, scoring or blocking even I just try to do my job.”
Nelson has rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries this season but has provided the Spartans a different dimension as a pass catcher this season.
Prior to this year Nelson didn’t have a single varsity reception to his credit.
He ranks third on the team with 15 catches for 210 yards this fall with eight of those receptions going for touchdowns.
“I’ve always been a running back, I haven’t caught any passes until this year to be honest,” Nelson said. “It’s just being an athlete I guess, just working on it every single day in practice since I came into that role.”
The addition for Nelson as a multi-dimensional threat has been important for Solon as the Spartans look to create mismatches for opposing defenses.
Six different Spartans have rushing touchdowns this year while five different players have caught touchdown passes.
“Some people would argue that we aren’t doing enough to get him the ball but with that being said you look at the dispersion and that’s what makes us difficult to defend is we are balanced,” Miller said. “On any given night it could be Graeson (Dall), it could Kendrick (Harris), it could be Trevor or it could be Jake (Coons). We just have a number of guys that can make plays and that is encouraging.”
With Nelson the role or the stats don’t really matter.
What does matter to the senior is wins and Solon is three away from its ultimate goal.
“We have that vision going to bed that we are going to be in the dome, we are going to win that state championship,” Nelson said. “When you have that in mind and you have that high of expectations you are so driven by that thing inside of you to go get it and that’s perfect for us.”