Arizona ATH holds crimson interest

THE STATE OF Arizona, based on the early recruiting rankings, doesn't appear to hold as rich a 2010 recruiting crop as recent years but one Tucson student-athlete is sure to see more stars by his name as the year moves along. He holds a Cougar offer plus rides two other Pac-10 schools and his stock is rising. His dad is also a graduate of Washington State.

Whether Tucson's Keanu Nelson (5-11, 165, 4.5) plays corner or receiver at the next level depends on the school and perhaps what he does in fall camp once he gets there -- Nelson says most schools are holding out the option for him to play either/or.

"They're kind of recruiting me as an athlete too," said Nelson of Washington State.

Schools can't place a call to recruits at this time of year but recruits can call coaches without restriction throughout, and Nelson said he's been highly proactive in that regard. He said he doesn't have a frontrunner though there are four coaches with whom he's already developed a strong relationship.

"The coach that's recruiting me from Arizona, coach (David) Nichol, the coach that's recruiting me from BYU, coach (Paul) Tidwell, coach Razz at Washington State and coach Ron Brown from Nebraska, I've developed pretty good relationships with all of them," said Nelson.

"I really think I have equal interest in all of the schools. Obviously the schools who have offered me scholarships are (higher) than those who are extending interest."

Nelson is up to eight offers. In addition to Washington State, he holds rides from Arizona, Stanford, Nebraska, BYU, San Diego State, Colorado State and Vanderbilt. Rich Rasmussen is running the point for the Cougars but as has been the case with recruiting under Paul Wulff, it's a group recruiting approach at Wazzu.

"I've heard from all the schools about equally...I talk with coach Wulff and coach Razz, I've talked with them (often). And I was just talking with the coach from Stanford."

Distance, said Nelson, won't be a factor in his decision.

"They're pretty interesting actually," said Nelson of Washington State. "My family is from that's my dad's (Mark Nelson) alma mater so (they're) definitely a place of interest...he wrestled there for a year.

"Academics is of utmost importance to me...and I kind of want to find a school where there's a balance between academics and athletics."

NELSON SAID A verbal commitment will likely come later rather than sooner, though he doesn't want the process to become a distraction.

"I'm the type of person who wants to research it all and check it out for a visit...I'm not going to rush it (but) I'm also not going to take too long..I'm going to put my team first and individual second. We start our spring ball on May 4 and we'll have some things like 7-on-7 tournaments out of state," said Nelson.

Among the schools who haven't offered, such as UCLA, Nelson said they've still been in steady contact. Nelson was in L.A. this past weekend and took in the Bruins spring game and chatted with Rick Neuheisel.

"He was talking about Arizona and comparing the weather to Southern California because he's from Arizona," laughed Nelson. "He didn't come flat out and say it but he was trying to say the weather was better."

Keanu Nelson profile

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