CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) – Sometimes the quietest people, can make for the best leaders. For the Calumet Copper Kings, Dryden Nelson’s quiet confidence is something they feed off of.
“He’s not a ‘hoorah’ type of kid,” said Calumet Head Football Coach, John Croze. “Nobody works harder and keeps their mouth shut. He gets after it every day and leads by example. All of our leaders are like that and they’ve kind of left their comfort zone and are leading us in a good way and we need him to do that for us.”
“He’s a quiet leader, ” said Paul Sturos, a senior quarterback for the Copper Kings. “He leads by example and he brings everything he’s got every day in games and in practice.”
“I’m not the loudest player on the field, but I just like to get it done and show the underclassmen what I can do,” said Dryden Nelson, a senior running back for Calumet. “Hopefully, they will follow in my footsteps.”
At just 5’9 and 170 pounds, Nelson isn’t your typical running back.
“He small, but he car run you over and right around you,” said Sturos.
What makes Nelson so unique is his speed. He’s able to make something out of nothing and can score the ball from anywhere on the field.
“Every play is something else because he’s a tremendous athlete. In space, I don’t think there is anyone better than him in the U.P. because he’s just so quick. He doesn’t change speed, but he can change direction real fast.”
“I just see something in front of me and I just got to make it happen. I just try as hard as I can,” said Nelson.
Getting Nelson room to move is a top priority for the Copper Kings.
“It’s tough to get him in open space. so we try to do a good job in getting him the ball and having those opportunities in open space. He gets it on defense every so often with a pick, and special teams are always exciting because once the ball is in his hands, you never know what’s going to happen.” – John Croze.
Nelson’s all-around abilities out of the backfield make things easier for Calumet’s coaching staff.
“It takes the pressure off,” said Croze. “You don’t have to design plays to get him in a place to score because he can take the ball from anywhere and into a bunch of people and all of a sudden he will come out and next thing you know, you’re watching him go in for six.”
“He can impact the game in plenty of ways. Running the ball, receiving, he’s really good to have on our team,” said Sturos.
“If you’re just running the ball, players can stop that,” said Nelson. If you can do multiple things like block, pass, and catch, you’re harder to guard and are a better player.”
Nelson’s success on game day comes as no surprise from his teammates.
“Every week in practice he runs the ball and you think you can get him and he just goes right by you every time. His speed every time is just ‘wow.’ He practices like this every day. Every time he gets the ball he runs hard, even in practice.”
“In the offseason, I lift pretty much every day. Sometimes, if I come upon a track I’ll just run to be in shape. Then, before games, I just get a good mindset so I’m ready, and focused up. Then come in and just played your hardest.”
“Special players like that are special because they love playing the game of football,” said Croze. “He does, and you can just see it in him.”