Just a couple of weeks ago, San Diego Southwestern (Calif.) College quarterback Brett Nelson thought he was likely headed to Division I-AA or Division II for his final two years of college football.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Nelson had heard from a bunch of colleges, including Colorado, Maryland and Connecticut, but had nothing firm.
Until University of Louisville offensive coordinator saw his film.
"Coach Watson got a hold of my film and said, ‘You are an FBS quarterback and I want you'," Nelson said. "Nothing else was really turning up. It's been great.
"I got on a flight as soon as I could and now look at me, I am signing with the Sugar Bowl champion Louisville Cardinals."
Nelson said he would sign papers later this week and enroll in January. He has two years of eligibility remaining and also has a redshirt year available.
With Teddy Bridgewater as the starter, Nelson will compete with redshirt freshman Will Gardner and true freshman Kyle Bolin next season for the backup spot. Gardner and Bolin are both coming off knee injuries.
"It's a great situation for me," Nelson said. "It's kind of a talking situation with the coaches and I know Teddy is the starter. If I do well enough, then I could be the backup but still redshirt unless something bad happens to Teddy.
"It kind of all depends on how I do in the spring. If I just get one season to play and show what I can do, skies the limit. I have a very competitive nature and I've never been given anything in life, I've always had to earn it."
Nelson, who only other visit was to Division II Northwood, threw for 2,833 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his passes and throwing just eight interceptions. He threw for 1,639 yards and 11 TDs as a freshman.
At Southwestern, Nelson plated for head coach Jim Bonds, who is a well-regarded coach and former UCLA quarterback. Bonds was the quarterback between Troy Aikman and Tommy Maddox at UCLA.
Nelson's quarterback coach is George Whitfield, who is the private quarterback coach for Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, among others. He also was the private coach for former U of L quarterback Hunter Cantwell.
"He's helped me a lot," Nelson said of Whitfield. "I know Hunter and have worked out with him several times."
Nelson was flying home on Sunday and said he had to send his transcript to U of L this week before signing papers.
"It's just a formality," he said. "I carry a 3.9 GPA, so there shouldn't be any snags. It just all felt so right. I loved everything about it an can't wait by the end of the week to call myself a Louisville Cardinal."