Two weeks after visiting Maryland and dubbing the Terps his No. 1 suitor, receiver Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.) committed to UMD May 7. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had offers from the likes of Louisville, Arizona, WVU, Illinois and others, but said everything fit perfectly at Maryland.
“I called Coach [D.J.] Durkin this morning and told him it was official, and he was real excited,” Nelson said. “He was walking at the time, and he said he gave a little fist pump and was just thrilled about my decision (laughs.)
“But just the vibe at Maryland when I was up there, from the coaches to the facilities to the players to the campus to the academics – I fell in love with the school. I just felt real good about Maryland and what they have going on there, and I’m excited to be on board.”
Nelson had been in close contact with UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, in addition to head coach D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell, graduate assistant Brawley Evans, and area recruiter Mike London. It was Beatty, in particular, who won Nelson over and convinced the receiver to join the Terrapin program.
“Coach Beatty is a great coach and he has a great history of developing receivers like Tavon Austin, Percy Harvin, guys like that. I believe he can really help my game and I can learn a lot from him,” Nelson said. “He’s such a cool guy too, and he was always contacting me. We talked about, like, everything. I really could see myself doing well under him.”
He could see himself in Bell’s offense as well. Nelson talked up the up-tempo spread and said it’s a similar system to what he’s in at Langston Hughes.
“I fit in perfectly in Coach Bell’s offense,” Nelson said. “They spread their receivers out and get down the field and let their guys make plays. When I was talking to Coach Bell, he just had me very excited about the offense and what I could potentially do in it. He’s a great coach and has had a lot of success in the past with guys putting up big numbers. He was saying [the Terps] need receivers like me to make it work, and that sounded great to me.”
During Nelson’s overnight campus stay April 23, the Georgian connected with Durkin and Evans. He said their overall personalities resonated.
“Coach Durkin is just a great guy, a cool guy. Just talking to him when I was up there, he just seems like a guy you want to play for,” Nelson said. “And Coach Brawley, he was the one who spent a lot of time with us when we toured the campus. It was really easy to bond with him and talk to him.”
While the coaches certainly did their part, Nelson also pointed to the current Terps he interacted with April 23. During the overnight stay, he had a chance to hang out with a few players, who Nelson said treated him well.
“Just talking to those guys, they love the Maryland coaches and said they’re getting things done,” Nelson said. “It’s a real close-knit group and they’re real cool guys. They said they love it up at Maryland with the new staff, so that was big for me to hear that from them.”
Nelson praised the aesthetics at UMD too. He loves the upcoming facility upgrades, the renovated dorm rooms and the campus itself.
“The campus is beautiful and I loved walking around there,” Nelson said. “Then the dorms they have there for the athletes are amazing. They’re like the best I’ve seen anywhere. And the indoor fields they’re putting in, man, those are going to be awesome. Maryland is on the come-up, and those facilities are going to be some of the best out there. I can’t wait to use them.”
Last but not least, UMD’s academics rang true. Nelson said he learned about the various opportunities the school presents post-graduation, which hit home with the Fairburn native.
“The area Maryland is in, being near D.C. and Baltimore, that’s a great advantage,” Nelson said. “Also, they really support the student-athletes there, and just learning about the graduation rates of the student-athletes, that stood out a lot too.”
Nelson, though, allowed he could entertain other suitors should some SEC programs ante up. He’s visited Georgia and Tennessee, and while neither have offered yet, Nelson has made it known he’d love to land verbals from each. Louisville and WVU also had the receiver’s eye at one time, but he’s yet to check out either program.
“I mean, I’m not closing everything down completely,” Nelson said. “As of right now I’m firmly committed to Maryland and that’s my school. I’m eager to get back up there and get this thing rolling. But you just never know how things go with this recruiting process and what the future holds.”