Nelson an 'NFL kid' is all in with U of L

SARASOTA, Fla. – Cardinal Authority checks in with University of Louisville commitment Chris Nelson of Lakeland, Fla., Victory Christian. Nelson is generating a lot of interest from other schools after committing to U of L in August.

A one-time commitment to Virginia, current University of Louisville defensive tackle commitment Chris Nelson is having a banner senior season.

Getting double- and triple-teamed by opponents, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Nelson has helped Victory Christian to a 5-3 record, a district championship and talk as one of the top defensive tackles in the Sunshine State.

"I think he has all the makings of an NFL kid," Victory Christian coach Tommy Lewis said. "He's a very special talent."

Nelson is generating so much hype that other schools have continued to recruit him since he made a commitment to the Cardinals in early August.

But after playing sparingly because of a nagging injury last week in a 42-33 loss to Sarasota, Fla., Cardinal Mooney, Nelson said U of L fans need not to fret.

"I am full-blast on Louisville," Nelson said with a smile, flashing an ‘L.'

Nelson had three tackles and a sack in the fourth quarter of the game Cardinal Authority saw him play against Cardinal Mooney. He played some in the first quarter but missed time trying to stretch out a leg injury.

"He's such a tough kid and wanted to go back in," Lewis said. "If it wouldn't have been a close game, he probably wouldn't have, but he wanted to help his team out and that's just the kind of kid he is.

"Chris is going to get out there and fight and battle for you."

Nelson, who said he's grown about an inch since last spring and is now at 6-3, said he still hears from some schools. There had been some talk about interest in Central Florida, but Nelson said he's "Louisville all the way."

"The coaching staff is great and they are like my family," Nelson said of U of L. "My family and my teammates are all in, full blast on Louisville.

"Everything (from schools) sounds great at the moment. But you really have to dig in deep and try to find out what is real and what isn't real. I know the Louisville staff keeps it real. I really like those guys."

Nelson, who is averaging two sacks a game, said he's going to take his official visit to U of L "probably" sometime in December.

Nelson said he gets his size from his mother, who is around 6-foot tall. Her nephew – and Nelson's first cousin – is current Kentucky junior Javess Blue, who is from nearby Babson Park, Fla.

"I am ready to get up on this visit to see the campus, my (future) teammates and the rest of the staff," he said. "I have been watching them a lot. They are playing great football and it's been fun for me to see."

While he said he plays "a lot like (former NFL star) Warren Sapp," Nelson said he has been watching the U of L defensive line "very close," and "can't wait" until he gets on campus and is coached up by Clint Hurtt.

"I am ready to play in college," he said. "I just want to get stronger, get faster and get there to compete. I am looking forward to getting there."

But for now, Nelson wants to end his high school career on a high note. Victory Christian has a bunch of talent on the roster including Division I prospect Kevin Coy at running back, who has been evaluated by the U of L staff.

Victory Christian plays Out-of-Door Academy this weekend and will finish the regular-season next week against Coral Springs Christian before the playoffs.

"We are coming out strong in big games and I think we are going to go forward in the season," Nelson said. "We won a district championship and we feel good.

"I am just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win. (Two weeks ago) I didn't come off the field. So, I'm just doing my best."

Lewis said all of Victory Christian's opponents try to double-team Nelson, while some have actually put three guys on the big man.

"He gets double-teamed every week, but he doesn't complain," Lewis said. "We have seen him triple-teamed where they actually left one of our other guys unblocked. We expect those other guys to make plays and Chris knows that when he's double and triple-teamed it's helping the team.

"He definitely has what it takes to make it (on the next level) skill-level wise, work-ethic wise. He's just anywhere between two and five years away from getting that opportunity to be an NFL guy."

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