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Oh, Hello: Four-Star Defensive Athlete DaKaari Nelson Commits to Penn State

Yay for recruiting momentum!

Eli Moreta-Feliz, Black Shoe Diaries


Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 203 pounds

Hometown/High School: Selma, Alabama (Selma High School)

Ranking: ★★★★ (0.9084 247Sports Composite)

Notable Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Texas A&M



DaKaari Nelson was first offered by the Nittany Lions last August and it did not take long for them to become a legitimate player in his recruitment. Nelson made it to campus for Penn State’s game against Rutgers last November, and from there his interest in the Nittany Lions only continued to grow.

Nelson spent the winter/spring months getting out to other schools and collecting offers, but the Nittany Lions always remained a prominent player in his recruitment. This led to Penn State earning an official visit from Nelson earlier this month.

It goes without saying that James Franklin, Anthony Poindexter and the rest of the staff hit it out of the park with Nelson during his official visit. This would prove to be the final visit Nelson took before deciding to shut his recruitment down and join Penn State’s class.


While recruiting services list Nelson as a safety, his long-term home could very well be at the second level of the defense. Already at 6-foot-2 190 pounds, it’s easy to envision Nelson growing into a SAM linebacker or whatever label Manny Diaz wants to put on the “striker” position in his defense.

Nelson is a good athlete and has shown good things in man coverage. He recorded eight interceptions as a junior last fall and returned two of them for touchdowns. Nelson is a player with good instincts and feel on the field, as well as a high football IQ.

A big reason Nelson’s long-term home could be in the box at linebacker is that he’s a very physical player. Nelson does not shy away from contact and is physical at the point of attack.

When Nelson arrives on campus he will be in need of a redshirt year. It may also take a year or two for the Nittany Lion coaching staff to find Nelson’s permanent home on defense. Nelson is very much one of those players though who you just want to get them on campus and then figure things out because there is a lot of potential and talent to work with.