Not even 24 hours ago, Waukee defensive end Anthony Nelson was eying a late-summer decision.
"It's big, it's a five-year commitment," he told AllCyclones.com on Monday. "As good as it sounds right now, I have to make sure that's right for me and that's what I want to do."
Overnight, Nelson — a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder who picked up an offer from the Cyclones following Saturday's camp — had a change of heart.
Nelson announced his decision to Iowa State via Twitter, making him the third member of the Cyclones' 2015 class and second in the last two days. Fellow Iowan Bryce Meeker pledged to ISU on Monday.
"I sat down and looked at Iowa State and focused on them — what I liked and didn't like," Nelson told AllCyclones.com on Tuesday morning. "There wasn't hardly anything I didn't like. I liked everything about it. I realized I can wait and see what else happens but I realized Iowa State is the perfect place."
Joining Nelson and Meeker as 2015 ISU commits is Naperville (IL) linebacker Bobby McMillen.
Nelson was told the Cyclones would take two defensive ends in the 2015 class but felt no pressure to commit. He had planned on visiting Princeton and Harvard in late July.
"There weren't any conversations like that," he said. "They respected me and told me to take time with the decision and make sure it was the right one."
The 2014 class saw the Cyclones snap a six-year string of consecutive classes in which they signed at least three Iowans; Urbandale's Allen Lazard was the only in-state player Iowa State inked. With Nelson and Meeker in the fold, the Cyclones look primed to start another streak. Offensive tackle Julian Good-Jones and defensive end Seth Nerness are current ISU leans who could make decisions before the summer ends.
"It says that Iowa State is growing in popularity in the state," Nelson said. "They're getting a lot of respect around the state and the country."
Breaking Down Nelson's Game
Nelson has a rare frame for a defensive end, which has ISU coaches salivating about the possibilities: He can swipe down passes at the line of scrimmage, he can swallow the read-option with one long arm, he can cover a ton of ground in just a few steps.
The Cyclones understand Nelson's a project player. He needs to add weight, at least 40 pounds, and his skill is unrefined. Defensive ends coach Stan Eggen was by Nelson's side much of the Cyclones' camp Saturday, teaching him how to use his hands and create separation from blockers in the trenches.
Like former ISU 6-foot-7 defensive lineman David Irving, Nelson will likely struggle at times staying low, an ever-important key to maintaining leverage.
Iowa State is going to redshirt most of its freshmen anyway, so why not take a chance on a "project" player? Nelson has huge upside, especially if he adds the necessary weight. It says here the Cyclones should make a commitment to keep Nelson at end rather than move him inside as they did with Irving, which at times neutralized Irving's natural abilities.