Kansas native Jordy Nelson is a big reason the Green Bay Packers are a threat to win their second Super Bowl title in five seasons.
Through 11 games, the 29-year-old wide receiver has 1,066 receiving yards and nine touchdowns for first-place Green Bay.
This week the Kansas State graduate is the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story by Tim Layden with the headline “What makes Jordy Nelson the NFL’s most dangerous deep threat.”
A consensus All-America selection at K-State after beginning his Wildcat career as a walk-on defensive back, Nelson is in his seventh year with the Packers after Green Bay selected him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
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Prior to his K-State career where he played for coaches Bill Snyder and Ron Prince, Nelson was a three-sport standout at Riley County High.
He holds the Class 3A record at the Kansas State Track and Field meet in the 100 meters, running a time of 10.63 seconds in 2003.
The Wichita Eagle selected Nelson as a first-team All-State basketball player and a third-team All-State football player during his senior year.
Green Bay fans have embraced Nelson in part because of time he spends on the family farm in Riley.
In 2013 Nelson played on those Kansas agrarian roots in a commercial for Wisconsin tourism. The ad inevitably plays off of the connection with Kansas and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Nelson’s photo continues a banner year for area athletes to grace the 60-year-old magazine’s cover.
The Kansas City Royals’ run to the World Series scored them three SI covers this fall, while Wichita State basketball was on twice during the Shockers’ undefeated regular season. Former Pittsburg State receiver John Brown made the cover earlier in November.
The last athlete with K-State ties to make the cover was quarterback Collin Klein, who appeared on the Nov. 19, 2012, issue.