Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood told Nelson and family members that getting some grades up will earn him an offer this summer.
"I sat down in his office and he's a very good guy," Nelson said. "He said they're very interested in me and stuff. They want to have me, and they're highly interested in me. As soon as my grades come along, they want to offer me. Rutgers doesn't offer just anyone."
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Nelson is being recruited as a middle linebacker.
"They said they know I'm a good, athletic football player," Nelson said. "[Assistant coach Darrell] Wilson knows I'm a good person. They just want to see where my grades are because they know it can be better. It was good hearing that. It really gave me some motivation."
Nelson got to campus for the first spring practice of the year, and took in the two-and-a-half hour session from the sidelines.
"The practice was very intense," he said. "They were nonstop running to the ball. They were loud. There was noise. It was huge energy, and that's every day from what I've heard.
"They have pretty good linebackers. They have a new linebackers coach, [Bob] Fraser and he's the man from what I'm hearing. Their linebackers are well-coached. That's awesome that he's from the NFL. That's definitely a plus."
Nelson will visit South Carolina and Old Dominion for junior days during spring break, and will take more visits after finishing school in June. He hopes to return to Rutgers as well.