Quenton Nelson already has a lengthy list of scholarship offers, but the 2014 New Jersey offensive tackle isn’t ruling out anybody who hasn’t offered yet, including Note Dame.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder from Red Bank Catholic High School (Red Bank, N.J.) currently holds offers from programs like Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Stanford among others.
“He just picked up one from Central Florida, so he’s up to 21,” Red Bank Catholic head coach Jim Portela said. “Everybody’s looking at him; Notre Dame, Alabama, you name it, he’s got interest from them.”
Nelson has interest in Notre Dame and is planning a trip to South Bend sometime this spring. Irish assistant Bob Diaco has made a couple stops by the school to check on Nelson.
“He was by during the season to watch us practice and he was down the last period when they were allowed to come down,” Portela said of Diaco. “He watched Quenton play basketball. I think they’re very interested and I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered him. Coach Diaco knows better than me and he’s doing a great job. He’s a good recruiter and good football coach, so I’m sure he’ll make a good decision.”
Nelson isn’t quite ready to announce his favorites.
“Quenton likes a bunch of schools,” said Portela. “Right now I don’t think he wants to go out and say who his favorites are. He’s still in the process of evaluating everything. He’s been very busy with basketball. I think him and his family are going to take some time and start focusing on choosing the schools he wants to get out and visit.
“Obviously the fact that he is planning to visit Notre Dame tells you that even though they haven’t offered, he has great interest in Notre Dame.”
Nelson’s size is the first thing college scouts see, but his talent extends much further.
“He’s 6-5, 290 and you would never even realize it,” his coach said. “He’s in such good shape, he looks like he could carry a lot more weight. He’s very explosive. When you see his highlight tape, you see him playing with the energy that high school linemen who are 5-10, 200 pounds play with. He plays with that energy at 6-foot-5, 290. He finishes his blocks. He has a great edge to him, great footwork and he’s a very athletic kid for anybody, not just a kid his size.”
Portela hasn’t seen that kind of attitude in that kind of frame before.
“It’s very rare,” he said. “I’ve been coaching high school football since 1987 and he’s the best offensive lineman I’ve seen. It’s very, very rare. I’m sure guys up at Notre Dame see kids like this all of the time, but we don’t see kids like this very often.”
He also stands out away from the gridiron.
“He’s very good academically,” Portela said. “I’m not saying he’s a 4.0, but he’s a 3.3. He’s going to be taking his SATs soon. He’s a smart kid, bright kid. He’s a serious kid in the classroom and he’s serious on the football field at practice. He’s serious about basketball, which he also plays.
“He transferred to this school as a sophomore. When he transferred, he had to sit out the first five weeks. Just to talk about his character, he was running around with water bottles and giving us a great look on the scout team. That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s a good teammate, he’s a good leader and we’re lucky to have him.”
More than 20 schools already agree with that.