BSD’s recruiting staff sat down for a roundtable on each prospect Penn State signed in the 2023 class. Coming in at No. 8 was four-star safety Dakaari Nelson.
What makes you excited about Dakaari Nelson?
“Man, I’ll gladly take the heat if I’m wrong but until then I’ll conduct the Dakaari Nelson hype train. I think he could play either safety or as big nickel very effectively. He’s got great size and really good feet and hips. He maybe doesn’t have the best long speed but he does a good job of shutting down receivers off the line and flipping his hips.” --Clay
What worries you about Dakaari Nelson?
“While I love Nelson’s length and frame, I do worry about how he progresses as an athlete as he gets bigger. I would certainly consider him a plus athlete right now due to his fluidity and smoothness, but he lacks that extra burst and long speed that the best safeties have. For Nelson, keeping that speed is especially important because I think his greatest attribute is playing deep zone in cover one/two where he’s able to display his top-tier ball skills. I just worry if he’ll keep the long speed to play deep coverage like that, or if he’ll need to transition to Penn State’s free safety role, which generally has more responsibilities closer to the line of scrimmage.” --Patrick
Do you think Dakaari Nelson will be redshirted next season? Around what point of his career do you think he pushes for meaningful playing time?
“2023 will likely be a redshirt year for Nelson. While he could undoubtedly contribute on special teams, that is not worth burning a redshirt over. Additionally, the staff needs to find out if his long-term home is at safety or SAM linebacker. Either way, it would not be a surprise to see Nelson begin to make an impact in 2024.” --Marty
What do you think is the most realistic outcome for Dakaari Nelson: depth provider, rotational/one-year starter, multi-year starter, all-conference, or all-american?
Marty: Multi-year starter
Patrick: Rotational/one-year starter
Lastly, where do you have Dakaari Nelson ranked in Penn State’s class?
Clay: No. 4
Marty: No. 9
Patrick: No. 12