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Picasso Nelson, Jr. earns university's Best Citizen Award honor

April 11, 2018

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss Football’s Picasso Nelson (Hattiesburg, Miss.) was selected and honored as the University’s Best Citizen Award recipient. This award is given annually to two (one male and one female) Southern Miss students who represent the highest ideal of what it means to be a Southern Miss Golden Eagle. They demonstrate servant leadership, selfless giving to the university and to fellow students, exemplary citizenship, and serve as a positive role model to their peers and in the community. Nelson is the first student-athlete to earn the prestigious honor since Gerald McRath (Football) in 2007.

Nelson exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader, role model, and student-athlete. He graduated with his BS in Business/Finance in the Fall of 2017 and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Picasso is one of five Student-Athletes that have held a top-10 GPA in the College of Business’ Banking and Finance Program. He is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has participated in community service initiatives, including the Hattiesburg tornado relief effort in 2017.

“Picasso is an excellent young man,” said head football coach Jay Hopson. “He embodies what a student-athlete should be. He’s been an incredible part of this football program and it is great to see him recognized for the impact he has had across this campus.”

This recent honor is one of many academic and athletic achievements for Nelson. He has been named Preseason All-C-USA, twice named as a C-USA’s Commissioner's Academic Medal and C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient, he has been named to the President’s List three times, the Dean’s List four times, and the AD’s Honor Roll all eight semesters. Additionally, he has been named first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District and to the C-USA All-Academic team. Nelson was a 2017 semifinalist for the William Campbell Trophy, which is presented by the National Football Federation to the top football scholar-athlete in the nation.

"Picasso embodies the Southern Miss spirit of excellence - academically and athletically,” Athletic Director Jon Gilbert said. “He is held in high regard by the faculty and staff, his coaches, and his teammates, which speaks volumes about his character. This recognition is a tribute to Picasso and his family."

Picasso Chavez Nelson, Jr. is the Son of Chan Willis and Picasso Nelson Sr. He has three younger sisters, Linzee Nelson, Lauryn Nelson and Hannah Brown. His father, Picasso, played football in the NFL and CFL while his cousin Kenny Shed, played football in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans, while great uncle, Eugene Bowen, played in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.

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