Below is a film review of Nelson with an eye toward his future place along Notre Dame's youth-filled offensive front.
Strengths and areas for developmentPlays with heavy hands, able to strike an opponent at first contact…Finishes blocks with the intent to intimidate…Always looking for someone to hit, even after executing the first necessary block…Can fire out into space and engulf a linebacker -- appears much quicker than his varying 40-yard dash times (as low as 5.64) indicate…Leg drive is impressive for a player that could likely dominate at the prep level with sheer upper body strength…Brute strength served him well in the running game at the prep level...Nelson might run a 5+ 40-yard dash but he'll get to the 5-yard and 10-yard level of a football field and deliver…
Delivers a blow upon impact, rocking foes with his initial contact…Disciplined at delivering inside the pads of his assigned defender… Along with incoming classmate Jimmy Byrne, Nelson will be involved in both the start -- and finish -- of ample practice scuffles in his five seasons in South Bend -- As it should be…Skill set will translate well to the college level where he'll be hell on wheels as a pulling blocker through the hole…
Not much film evidence of pass protection -- a skill most have to learn upon entry to Notre Dame…(You can teach a kick slide and better hand placement in pass protection, but no line coach can instill Nelson's inherent desire to turn a defender into graded road)…Uses leverage well even though he probably didn't need too -- a well-schooled player.
(Thoroughly enjoyable player to review on film but on a side note, who was his running back? (#21) because he can play in the MAC…)
To borrow from Brian Kelly, Notre Dame got a "tough gentleman" in Nelson, but fear not Irishfans, there's no on-field gentleman persona present. Nelson is a tough, angry blocker that wants to make his opponent remember how much it hurts to get in his way…
An ideal offensive line prospect and could compete at guard in Year 2 in South Bend and start in Year 3…Could play tackle as well but is a natural mauler inside and with Mike McGlinchey (4 years), Steven Elmer (3 years) and Ronnie Stanley (3 years) eligible for the foreseeable future on the perimeter, guard is a beneficial playing time/program fit…Seemed to revel in reminding a blocked, fallen foe that he had no impact on the previous play…Has very good initial (post-snap) quickness at 295 pound -- would be a bonus if he can maintain that at 305 in 2015…
Nelson would have ended up at Boston College in a bygone era and likely made the Irish pay for three seasons…A true mauler and future pro if he's focused for five seasons in the program.
Road blocks to playing timeOnly the passage of time.
Nelson has three potential 5th-year seniors to contend with in 2015 (Nick Martin, Matt Hegarty, Conor Hanratty)as well as the possibility that 2013 freshman Steven Elmer remains at guard, but otherwise, Nelson will likely be the first of the team's four offensive line prospects for 2014 to hit the field. Either he or Sam Mustipher (Center) should get the first crack at starting competition) with the aforementioned Byrne and tackle prospect Alex Bars to follow.
Should he receive an initial evaluation -- and then remain -- at tackle, it's a crowded house as noted in the film review detailing the eligibility of Ronnie Stanley, Mike McGlinchey, and Elmer.
Quenton Nelson is a three-year starter and four-season contributor in the making. However, a 5th-year in South Bend is likely necessary to that end.
Reminiscent of… Former Irish guard and 2013 5th-year senior, Chris Watt.
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