Keller Citizen

Nelson senior LB on burden of leadership: ‘I can hold it up’

Byron Nelson's Jaired Chamberlain, right, says he’s ready to lead a younger defensive unit in 2017.
Byron Nelson's Jaired Chamberlain, right, says he’s ready to lead a younger defensive unit in 2017. Special to the Star-Telegram

Young programs build on small successes and talented players willing to put forth the extra effort.

Trophy Club Nelson’s football team could see all those pieces fall into place this season if seniors-to-be such as Jaired Chamberlain perform as expected.

Chamberlain is a returning linebacker for the Bobcats and brings needed leadership back to a young program looking to improve on its 4-7 season from a year ago.

The Nelson defense will return about half of its starters after finishing in third place in District 5-6A and losing its bi-district playoff game to Denton Guyer.

“Being a senior puts some weight on your shoulders, but I can hold it up,” Chamberlain said.

That win certainly helped us turn the corner for sure. It got us headed in the right direction.

Jaired Chamberlain on his team’s shock victory over Euless Trinity last season

His strength, both from a leadership perspective and in the weight room, is just what Nelson head coach Travis Pride will be counting on.

“He’s a great leader, an excellent teammate, and at 6-3, 230, he will be a force at linebacker,” Pride said.

The expectations are high but not burdensome, Chamberlain said.

“The coaches told me I’d be a starter, and we let it go from there,” he said.

But the summer will still be crammed with performance course workouts as well as training on his own. He said his goal is to lose fat, gain muscle and not get any lighter.

Chamberlain said he’s part of Nelson’s 7-on-7 team playing in a Tuesday night league. The passing-game drills are helping him improve on his reads and coverage. It’s also offering even more bonding and melding time with his teammates.

Another byproduct of the summer workouts and 7-on-7 is an improvement in Chamberlain’s speed and quickness — areas of focus for his offseason goals.

The additional trait development of speed and strength make Chamberlain versatile, as well.

While primarily slotted as a middle linebacker, Chamberlain said he’s seen some time in the outside position. He admits the outside spot is a bit more difficult for him, but he certainly seems willing to take on any role the Bobcats may ask of him.

Regardless of the role or responsibility, Chamberlain said it’s all about opportunity, both for him and his team.

The Bobcats won a pivotal upset game with Euless Trinity last season and that has helped propel Nelson into a winning mindset.

“That win certainly helped us turn the corner for sure,” he said. “It got us headed in the right direction.”

Continuing in that direction will mean hopes for another playoff opportunity and a deeper run.

Personally, Chamberlain, a second team all-district player last year, will look to be the tackles leader and the captain on a team ripe with other first team members this year.

“We’re a different team from last year and the team has come together a lot,” he said. “I think we’re just together more and it’s helping quite a bit.”