The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will have the chance to make a strong recruiting impression with big 4-star offensive tackle recruit Quenton Nelson this spring.
Nelson has yet to pick up an offer from he Fighting Irish, but he's planning on visiting South Bend the first weekend of April, according to Steve Hare of IrishIllustrated.com:
“I’m going to visit them April 5 and 6,” Nelson said. “I really just would like to see the facilities and the campus and talk to the academic support staff and the coaches and players. I want to discover more about the curriculum and get a feel for the on-campus atmosphere, which is great there. Then on the sixth I’ll watch a spring practice and be able to see firsthand how coach (Harry) Hiestand interacts with the players.”
Nelson has been in regular contact with Hiestand, Notre Dame’s offensive line coach, as well as offensive coordinator Chuck Martin and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who recruits the Jersey area for the Irish.
“They said they’ve eliminated a lot of prospects for the offensive line and I’m still one of them (they will recruit),” Nelson said. “They can’t wait to get me up there. They love my combination of physicality and athleticism.”
Nelson has good size at 6'5'', 285 pounds, and he can play either right or left tackle. That said, 247Sports.com has him ranked as a guard as well. He's the No. 20 overall guard in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
Either way, Nelson is obviously a versatile player and he'd be a big recruit for Notre Dame to lure in.
If Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish want to make it to the top of Nelson's interest list the first and most obvious step will be to offer him a scholarship, which seems like it's close to happening. If he's been in contact with Coach Martin, and Diaco and is wanting to visit, I can only imagine an offer will be coming soon or could happen on the visit.
That said, you never really do know and I'm certainly not privy to what the coaching staff is thinking, but for all intents and purposes it looks like an offer is the next step for Notre Dame.
After that it's somewhat of an easy pitch for the Fighting Irish.
The campus is beautiful, the tradition is rich and the football program is on the cusp of winning a national championship. Brian Kelly is one of the best coaches in college football, and Nelson would have the chance to be part of a great offense.
Should Notre Dame offer Nelson?
That's when this does get somewhat tricky though. Notre Dame went out and signed four 4-star offensive tackles and one 4-star guard in 2013. The Fighting Irish also have the commitment of 2014 4-star offensive guard recruit Jimmy Byrne, so they are looking pretty good up front in regards to depth.
This could present a problem for Notre Dame, but that's where the recruiting skills of Kelly and his staff could surface.
Still, there's the possibility of taking a redshirt season which would give Nelson another year to hit the weights, learn the scheme and practice with the team. It would also give him an extra year of eligibility, so he could perhaps end up being part of something special later on down the line at Notre Dame.
That would be the best pitch for Notre Dame to settle on. Redshirting is a great way to really ease into the college experience while building yourself up as a football player. Nelson could get a little bigger in regards to mass, so having that extra year of weight training could really put him over the top, and that would allow him to better compete for playing time.
Notre Dame may also want to talk to him about potentially playing guard, where he would fit with his size, and that could help him a bit in regards to depth as well, considering the amount of tackles that were brought in through the 2013 class. He could compete with 2013 guard signee John Montelus and the aforementioned Byrne once Nick Martin and Chris Watt respectively move on from their Notre Dame careers.
Overall, the opportunity to play football and receive an education at Notre Dame is often times too much to pass up, and that really is one of the best pitches Kelly and his staff can use on the recruiting trail.