San Antonio - David Nelson is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound receiver prospect and U.S. Army All-American from Wichita Falls (Tex.) Rider, and Nelson had a bit of a curve ball thrown his way a month back when Tyrone Willingham was let go at Notre Dame. Nelson, an Irish verbal commit at the time, started to have reservations about signing with ND. Do the Irish still have a shot?
"It's great," Nelson said Sunday about the reception given by those in San Antonio putting together the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played next Saturday in San Antonio. Wichita Falls is roughly 4 hours-plus by car to San Antonio, but he was more than happy to board a puddle-jumper to bring him down south.
"They really do a good job of getting this thing organized and making us feel welcome. "As soon as we got off the plane there was a welcoming committee there and that made all of us feel good. It made us feel special."
Nelson has been making Texas prep football fans feel special all year catching 91 passes for 1,643 yards and 18 touchdowns. "We started out 7-0 and got four rounds deep into the playoffs," he said. "We got beat by a good team."
Nelson earned all-state and all-region offensive player of the year honors for his stellar play.
His college future was a done deal for a long time until Willingham was delivered his walking papers. "I was committed to Notre Dame, I am still committed to Notre Dame," said Nelson. "I guess you could call me a soft verbal."
When asked to put a percentage on his commitment, Nelson said '30 percent'.
"If coach Willingham was still around I'd still be going to Notre Dame," he added. "The way they handled that situation wasn't very professional. It made me wonder how they might handle the situation in a few years if coach (Charlie) Weis doesn't do what he's supposed to do, if they fire him in two years. It made me think about some things. And with all the other things out there, I just wanted to take a look."
Don't look for Nelson to track down Willingham at his new school - Washington. The last time the two talked was two weeks before Willingham's dismissal. "He's a good guy and I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with him," he said. "But he's at a different place now and I'm sure he's enjoying where's he at and he's recruiting other players."
Notre Dame, UCLA, Iowa and Florida are Nelson's final four "They are all even," he said. "I have two visits left and I'll go to UCLA on the 21st and then to Florida."
The Bruins and Gators are the final two teams to make Nelson's cut. Here's what he had to say about both.
UCLA - "They are a great academic school. They didn't do as well as they would have liked to, but they have that program headed back in the right direction. The QB's coach is good friends with the defensive coordinator at my high school. They are a little new to me, so I don't know a whole lot about them."
Florida - "I really wasn't even considering Florida until they brought in Coach (Urban) Meyer. I really enjoyed watching the Pittsburg-Utah game. The wide receivers coach there is good friends with my head coach. They have a good relationship. And at Florida, they have a history of winning and bringing teams back to national prominence."
Because the first day of the official signing period for prep football recruits is on February 2nd, it gives players like David - who want to take visits that last weekend in January - basically no time before colleges are looking for a final decision. Nelson knows the time crunch is upon him.
"I may not even have that. I might have to make a decision before the Florida visit. I'm getting a pretty good idea about where I want to go, but I can't release that right now. I'm going to try and take the rest of my visits, but I should have a pretty good idea before that Florida visit."
Recruiting: David Nelson
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