Nelson Enjoys Class of 2014 Growth

DePaul (Wayne, N.J.) defensive end Justin Nelson was the first New Jersey prospect to commit to the Rutgers class of 2014. Less than five months later, the class is up to 20 commits, including teammate and close friend Kiy Hester.

The Rutgers and DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) football programs both celebrate Friday's verbal commitment of four-star safety Kiy Hester. For defensive end Justin Nelson, the celebration was twice as powerful.

Nelson, reunited with Hester at DePaul for their senior seasons, was the second commitment in the Rutgers class and now has his friend set to join him in the Big Ten in 2014.

Hester chose Rutgers for his relationship with the staff, proximity to home, the move to the Big Ten and other reasons. But Nelson gets an assist.

"I told him to go with his heart," Nelson said. "Go with what feels best. The things that he says about Rutgers are the exact things that I felt back before I committed. I just feel like Rutgers is in his heart just like it is for me."

Nelson was the second commit and first from New Jersey in the class of 2014. Making his verbal commitment to coach Kyle Flood at the end of February, Nelson enjoyed watching the class grow to 20 commits.

"It's so much fun to watch from where I'm looking at it," Nelson said. "This class is really shaping up nice. I think that with the help of the coaches and the recruiters, we're going to be really, really good and have a good finish."

Nelson spent his Saturday with Hester during the Rutgers passing camp. His team made it to the semifinals of the competitive 7-on-7 portion of the camp and spent most of the day in Piscataway.

Before the camp started, Nelson was on campus early to spend time with Hester and the coaching staff.

"I love being there," Nelson said. "Every time I come to Rutgers it's a better experience than the last time. I just can't wait to be on campus for good.

"They got to see me show a little versatility in our offense. I have a great relationship with all of them, so I'm really just having a good time when I see them."

Nelson also participated in the Rutgers Big Man Academy, where he was a top performer and got to work closely with defensive line coach Jim Panagos.

"That was great," Nelson said. "I got a feel for how he runs practices and what I can expect next year. I won the award for most explosive player and it was just awesome. The coaches loved my intensity and my tenacity. It was great."

Committing to Rutgers early, Nelson has heard from other programs since his decision but said he is not interested.

"I just take it one day at a time and I make sure they know that I'm 100 percent committed to Rutgers," he said. "This is where I want to be – nowhere else."

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