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Oklahoma senior safety Jonathan Nelson opened up to The Oklahoman about his favorite hobby, which goes against the football player stereotype:

What do you want to do this week with your free time?

I’m pretty low key. If I go out, then it might be to like In-and-Out Burger or the mall for like 10 minutes. But that’s about it. I’ll go to the hotel and play dominoes or poker or something and just call it a night.

Are you the best domino player?

Definitely. The best domino player, the best pool player and the best chess player on the team.

You guys play chess?


Who’s in the chess club?

There’s me, there’s (guard/center) Brian Lepak, there’s (walk-on) wide receiver John Sosanya, there’s (walk-on) defensive back Jesse Paulsen. But I’m unparalleled.

How long you been playing chess?

I wanna say since sixth or seventh grade. My grandmamma got me a chess set way back in the day, I wanna say for Christmas. Ever since then, I’ve kinda liked chess. I haven’t had many people to play with, but…

I would think there wouldn’t be many chess players on a football team, right?

Not many. But me, Brian, John and Jesse, while everyone else is doing their own thing, we’re rooting and screaming at each other like it’s a football game or something.

Lepak is applying to law schools — I bet he’s a tough match.

Me and Lepak the last day or two we’ve been playing a lot of chess. Lepak, he’s the Academic All-American, so he knows what he’s doing. But I’ve been taking him down.

By Jake Trotter

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