Nelson Goes In-Depth on Rutgers Commitment

Rutgers landed the 13th member of its 2012 recruiting class when Archbishop Carroll High (Washington, D.C.) offensive lineman Derrick Nelson committed to Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Nelson spoke to about his commitment, why he chose Rutgers, how he fits into the offense and much more.

Offensive guard Derrick Nelson earned his offer from Rutgers after a stellar performance at the Big Man Academy in mid June, and today the Scarlet Knights earned the Archbishop Carroll High's (Washington, D.C.) commitment.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Nelson became the 13th member of Rutgers' 2012 recruiting class when he gave coach Greg Schiano a non-binding oral commitment Monday afternoon.

"I committed to Rutgers a few minutes ago," Nelson said. "It was between Georgia Tech and Rutgers, and there were obviously some difference between the two schools."

In the end, though, Nelson loved the comfort and familiarity he had with the Scarlet Knights' staff, including offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti and receivers coach P.J. Fleck.

"Rutgers has a family atmosphere that me and my family love, and it all had one of the best APRs (No. 2) in the country," Nelson said. "I talked to coach Cignetti, and he was talking about the new offense they were installing, and I'd be perfect for it.

"Those are three major things that hit me and rung a bell in my head when I was making my decision."

Nelson previously talked about waiting for the start of his senior season, but he felt so strongly about Rutgers, he decided to make the commitment.

He visited the Rutgers campus for the Big Man Academy on June 11, then stopped by a few days later during his trip home from Boston College.

Nelson was going to camp at Rutgers later in the month, but couldn't make it for one of the days. Instead, he spent the entire day of June 26 on campus with his parents and brother, and nearly committed then.

"The reason I wanted to get it done was I felt it was the right choice," Nelson said. "I could have gotten it done this summer, or later on in the process, but it was the most perfect fit for me. I knew it and my family knew it."

Nelson made the call to Schiano early this afternoon with the good news.

"He was very happy," Nelson said. "I do feel excited, but I don't feel relieved because it wasn't a weight coming off my shoulders. It was something I felt was in the best interest for me. I feel like this was the best fit for me."

On the field, one of the clinching factors was how Nelson was utilized during the Big man Academy, and his interaction with offensive line coach Kyle Flood.

"Coach Flood tried me out at the guard position, and I thought it would be the greatest fit," Nelson said. "They saw me on film and it was prior to camp, and that is where they wanted me.

"They saw I was fast and had bend in my knees, I was very active and athletic off the ball and knew how to pull. That is one thing they said I will bring to offense; pulling."

Academics also played a big role for Nelson. He wants to major in sports medicine, and it goes back to a conversation that took place on his way to the Big Man Academy.

"I want to become a physical therapist," he said. "My uncle is a physical therapist and I rode with him up to the Big Man Academy, and he had a chance to go to school between Rutgers and Maryland, and those were the two top schools in sports medicine. That made me think, ‘Sports medicine, that's what I want to do.' That stuck with me."

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