Last year Demarco Nelson had high hopes for his senior year. He was on several preseason watch lists, but three days before the season opener he was suspended for failing to meet the NCAA's Progress Towards Degree Requirement. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane defense struggled in 2013, it wasn't all because Demarco wasn't present, but it didn't help. He himself had his own rough time with the suspension. He said he got through it with daily prayer and some soul searching. "Last year not playing, that was the first time I haven't played football, I mean ever." TU Senior Free Safety, Demarco Nelson, "So I had to figure out who I was off the field. I got a sense of who I am and who I want to be in the future. Not play was really depressing. I had to get over that. But the most depressing part was letting my teammates down."Demarco worked hard in his time away from the game to make it up to those he says he let down. He comes back better than ever and is ready to help make Tulsa a defensively dominate football team."He has so much range. Last year we had some problems." TU Defensive Coordinator Brent Guy, "We'd rotate that guy to the middle third and we got hit on some of those plays. We couldn't get the guy in there. He has so much range to go make those type of players. Or he can come down on a number two receiver, play him much tighter, make that are harder throw and catch or make that tackle in open space. He just gives us so much more athleticism on defense.""I love playing next to him. It makes my job a lot easier." TU Junior Strong Safety, Michael Mudoh, "With him taking care of half the field and me taking care of the other half. I don't have to worry about too much about leading the other half, you know he's a great leader. It will be awesome having him back so we can both be great leaders for the defense."Tulsa Head Football Coach Bill Blankenship says there is a night and day difference when #20 is on the field.
"I mean we love all the other guys." TU Head Football Coach, Bill Blankenship, "Mudoh is strong, but when you put Michael and Marco back there together I think they're maybe the two best safety combination that we're going to see anywhere." Pretty high praise, but Demarco has backed up the hype with results ever since he was a freshman All-American four-years ago.
Tulsa opens the season at home against American Conference opponent Tulane on Thursday, August 28th at 7:00pm.