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63 days till FSU baseball: Matheu Nelson feeling stronger, faster after weight drop

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“I think this is one of the best teams that Florida State might ever have.”

Larry Novey/FSU athletics

Florida State baseball is back in 63 days, as the ACC approved a framework today for the 2021 season to begin on February 19th. With the return of FSU baseball, Tomahawk Nation’s countdown to the season returns as well. Each day that correlates to a Seminole’s number, we’ll have a profile piece on that player. To start it off, it’s #63, Matheu Nelson.

Nelson was a draft eligible sophomore, but will return to Florida State as a two-year starter behind the plate. FSU also brings in two reliable catchers in their 2020 recruiting class, so Nelson isn’t worried about being satisfied with his position.

“I still have to go out there and push to be immediate every day. There’s no spot that’s never open. Especially with two new guys coming in, my spot’s up for grabs all the time. You have to be there one hundred percent every single day on and off the field. Nothing is given here,” Nelson said.

Last season, Nelson handled the two-spot in Florida State’s lineup, one of the early changes that Mike Martin Jr. made as a head coach. Nelson likes being in that top part of the lineup and getting on base for his teammates. In two seasons at Florida State, he’s shown his knack for getting on base, with a career on-base percentage of .434.

“I want to get on base as often as possible, get as many at bats as I can to put myself in a situation to either score runners or get in scoring position to score. I want to win.”

This fall, Nelson looked to be in the best shape of his Florida State career, after dropping nearly 25 pounds over the summer. The weight drop has made him lighter on his feet, translating to quicker throw downs and more durability at the plate. But the weight drop has also made him looser and stronger, opening up a natural power that he’s always possessed.

During one of his press conferences in the fall, Mike Martin Jr. mentioned that Nelson’s power display was one of the pleasant surprises of fall ball.

Rather than playing summer ball, Nelson’s focus was on becoming a better overall athlete.

While on the first episode of the Sunday Golds podcast, Nelson said, “I’m hitting balls harder than I ever have. I deadlifted 510 pounds when I got back to Tallahassee, something I was never close to doing before. I talked to our strength coach Jamie Burleson when I got back and he said, ‘This is the strongest you’ve ever been.’”

Nelson is a part of a Florida State lineup that returns all of its starters from the shortened 2020 season. Between the returners in the lineup, the power arms, and the impressive newcomers, the backstop believes this team has a chance to be special.

“I think this is one of the best teams that Florida State might ever have. There’s a lot of talent here. I think it’s going to be a special group.”

With his experience, newfound power, and athleticism on the field, Nelson is in store for a big 2021. A good catcher is the backbone for any college baseball team that makes it to Omaha. In Matheu Nelson, Florida State has one of the best and brightest catchers in the country.