The suspense regarding the status of Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian defensive tackle Chris Nelson dissipated on Wednesday morning with the news from the Longhorn Network that Nelson has signed with the Texas Longhorns:
Defensive tackle Chris Nelson from Lakeland, FL has signed with Texas.— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) February 5, 2014
Nelson had planned an announcement for 1:15 p.m. CT.
The consensus three-star prospect had been committed to new Texas head coach Charlie Strong at Louisville and took official visits to South Florida and Central Florida in addition to the Longhorns -- competition Texas should win out again every time, especially with a previous relationship.
Still, Texas fans were understandably nervous given the high stakes with no other defensive tackles committed following the quick rush of the three former commits opening up their respective recruitments when former defensive tackles coach Bo Davis departed for USC.
The 6'2, 295-pound Nelson is rated as the No. 57 defensive tackle nationally, the No. 120 prospect in Florida, and the No. 817 player overall in the country, though his value to the Texas class far exceeds those rankings. He also held offers from the likes of Iowa, Missouri, NC State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, and Virginia.
All the aspects of athleticism that are necessary for a successful collegiate defensive tackle are there -- Nelson can get off the ball with quickness and can be a gap-penetrating force as a result, though the down-to-down consistency needs to improve and he needs to get better defending the run by holding his ground with ideal pad level. The ability to shed blocks is also an area where Nelson will have to improve.
The other defensive tackle target on the board, South Carolina product Poona Ford, will announce his decision at 11:30 a.m. CT on the @ESPNU Twitter handle. He is also expected to choose Texas.
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