This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
D.J. Nelson was about 5 years old when his dad took him to his first Logan football game. Now-NFL player Chris Cooley was playing, and from then on, Nelson was hooked.
He was in the stands when the Grizzlies won the title in 2000. He was there when his brother, BYU's Riley Nelson, lost a championship game in 2005, then won in 2007. With a family history that is deeply embedded in Logan football, Nelson's path was always set to one day be an integral part of the program.
But history never burdened him. The state championship rings on his father's and brother's hands inspired him to get his own.
"It drives you, it makes you hungry," the senior quarterback says. "Even when I was a fan, it was something I wanted to do."
Nelson's drive this season can be measured in his numbers: nearly 3,500 yards passing, more than 1,600 yards rushing and an astounding 73 total touchdowns. With the season he had, Nelson's name will be in the record books for a while.
But here's what coach Mike Favero says is Nelson's most important statistic: 14-0 as quarterback.
"He's a competitive kid who wanted to achieve a level of success no one expected," Favero says. "He was calm and confident, and he didn't panic. He thought if he stayed the course, good things would happen."
And good things did happen. The Grizzlies breezed through almost every game, winning most by eye-popping margins.
That's why it was almost shocking when Logan trailed in the championship game to East, a team they handled earlier in the season. The offense was stagnant, and Nelson had his roughest outing of the year.
But a game full of struggles ended up being defined by one incredible play. In the final minute, Nelson sent a 40-yard heave "I basically threw as hard as I could," he says to Jamison Hartman, who made the game-winning catch.
It was a stunner, but a play that characterized Nelson. When he needed the greatest play of his career to win, he made it happen.
"I never expected how it happened we didn't expect to be down," Nelson says. "It's taken me a while to even realize that. Looking back, it's amazing. It was something special." All-State softball MVPs and teams (pdf) » http://bit.ly/sOIinM