LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State football player DJ Nelson was named the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending on Sunday, Oct. 8, it was announced Monday. The award is voted on by a state-wide media panel.
It is the first time this year and first time in his career that the 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior from Logan has been named USU’s student-athlete of the week.
With their sponsorship of the Student-Athlete of the Week, America First Credit Union donates funds directly to support student-athlete scholarships.
Prior to earning the USU weekly accolade on Monday, Nelson was tabbed the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week.
In Utah State’s game against Colorado State last Saturday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Nelson blocked a second-quarter punt, scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for his first career touchdown.
Nelson, who is playing on special teams for the first time this season, also blocked a punt at Wake Forest. He currently leads the nation with his two blocked punts, along with junior linebacker and teammate Louy Compton.
Utah State has blocked a nation-leading four punts this season – one each against Idaho State, Wake Forest, San José State and CSU. No other team in the nation has more than two blocked kicks this season. The school record for blocked kicks is six, set in 2012, as that team blocked three field goals, two punts and one extra point.
Utah State (3-3, 1-1 Mountain West) wraps up its three-game homestand this weekend when the Aggies welcome Mountain West foe-Wyoming (3-2, 1-0 MW) to town on Saturday, Oct. 14. The game is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m., and can be seen live on Facebook.
For ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
Nominees from other sports for USU Student-Athlete of the Week included:
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY – Junior Kody Gould (Buckley, Wash.) finished third at the Utah State-hosted Steve T. Reeder Memorial last weekend, as he ran the 7-kilometer course in 21:50.39 and was the top collegiate finisher, as the two runners ahead of him were unattached. Gould led the Aggies to a first-place team finish with 24 points, defeating Weber State (53), Southern Idaho (54) and Westminster (97).
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY – Senior Kelsey Girardelli (Livermore, Calif.) placed sixth at the Utah State-hosted Steve T. Reeder Memorial last weekend, as she finished the 5-kilometer course in 19:00.51, a personal best for that distance. Girardelli led the Aggies to a second-place team finish with 44 points, behind BYU (34), and ahead of Utah (75), Weber State (90), Southern Idaho (106) and Westminster (174).
SOCCER – Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo (Holladay, Utah) led Utah State to its 0-0-2 Mountain West home record last weekend, as the Aggies fought Colorado College (1-1) and Air Force (0-0) to a pair of double-overtime draws. Against the Tigers, Cardozo assisted on the Aggies' lone goal of the day and added two shots. Against the Falcons, she took six shots with five on goal, as part of USU’s season-high 18 shots. On the weekend, Cardozo took eight shots, seven of which were on goal, while adding one assist.
MEN’S TENNIS – Freshman Aditya Vashistha (Bikaner, India) won his singles flight at the Utah Intercollegiate last weekend, finishing with a 7-2 overall record. Vashistha, who had a 5-1 singles mark, beat Utah's Egbert Weverink to claim the singles flight title. Vashistha also went 2-1 in doubles with freshman Felipe Acosta at the round robin tournament.
VOLLEYBALL – Senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey (Farmington, Utah) led Utah State offensively during the week as the Aggies lost a pair of Mountain West home matches to Wyoming (3-0) and 23rd-ranked Colorado State (3-0). Against the Cowgirls, DeCoursey had 10 kills, hitting a team-best .269 (10-3-26), and added two blocks and one dig. Against the Rams, DeCoursey led the Aggies with a .350 hitting percentage (9-2-20), finished third on the team with nine kills and added three digs, two blocks and tied a career high with two service aces. For the week, DeCoursey totaled 19 kills, averaging 3.17 per set, hit a team-best .304 (19-5-46), and added four digs, four blocks and two service aces.
2017-18 Utah State Athlete of the Week Winners
Aug. 31 – Lauren Anderson, Volleyball
Sept. 4 – Alyssa Snyder, Women’s Cross Country
Sept. 11 – Kent Myers, Football Sept. 18 – Alyssa Snyder, Women’s Cross Country
Sept. 25 – Lauren Anderson, Volleyball
Oct. 2 – Jalen Davis, Football
Oct. 9 – DJ Nelson, Football
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