Matt Nelson came into the winter undecided about his college sport. Football and basketball programs were pursuing the talented athlete from Cedar Rapids Xavier.
Sometimes these situations have a way of working themselves out. That's the case for Nelson, who saw his gridiron stock rise steadily during the last month.
"Once Stanford offered, I just all of a sudden got a lot more attention," the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Nelson said. "Stanford is one of the big-time programs out there."
Nelson spoke with Cardinal Assistant Morgan Turner a few times before receiving an offer.
"It still came unexpectedly because it was based off of film," Nelson said. "They never even have come out to see me play. That was the most shocking aspect."
"They just liked that I was a big body that could move well and that I have athleticism for a kid my size," Nelson said of Stanford.
Like French, Nelson plays basketball and is being viewed as a football player that could fit at more than one position.
San Diego State sees Nelson as a tight end, he said. Iowa, Iowa State and Yale envision him at tight end, defensive end or offensive tackle. The Cardinal views him as an outside linebacker or tight end.
"I just want to get on the field," Nelson said. "Whichever one of those positions gets me on the field the soonest, I'll be OK with it."
"I'm open to all schools right now," Nelson said. "It's still early."
Nelson is going to accept an invitation to visit the Fighting Irish within the next few weeks, he said. He expects to get out to Iowa and Iowa State again this spring and see other campuses as time allows. He is attending the Under Armour combine in St. Louis at the end April and the Nike Combine in Champaign, IL the following month.
"I definitely have to look at all the schools a lot harder now," Nelson said. "Time is kind of winding down because I want to get it out of the way by the start of my senior football season.
Nelson does not see distance from his Mount Vernon, Iowa home as being the main factor in his decision.
"I don't find traveling that stressful," he said. "Once you're out there you make immediate friends with your teammates. They become pretty much your second family. You bond with them.
"If I do end up going far away, it will be unfortunate that (friends and family) can't always come see me, but I also have to pick the school that's best for me. There are many pieces that go into a huge decision like this one."
Academics will be a key component in his choice. Nelson plans ton becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Ideally, Nelson would like to narrow his options down this summer and then verbally commit to a school by the end of August. He has more time to concentrate on picking a program as he decided to walk away from AAU basketball with the Iowa Barnstormers this spring.
"I'm just focusing on football because that's what I want to do in college," Nelson said.
What a difference a month can make.