Mar. 7, 2021: 2022 Tracy, Minn. OL Tony Nelson verbally committed to the University of Minnesota Monday, making two in-state seniors committed to the Gophers.
P.J. Fleck’s recruiting vessel continues to row on, as his 2022 recruiting class added three-star offensive lineman Tony Nelson late Sunday night. Standing at 6-foot-6 260 pounds Nelson has the initial frame to develop into a serious player on the Gophers’ front over time. Minnesota was the Tracy, Minn. senior’s only power five offer, as he chose the U over Central Michigan, Dartmouth and South Dakota.
— Tony Nelson (@TonyNelsonTMB) March 8, 2021
Nelson has been a very fast-rising name among the recruiting scene, receiving all four of his offers in the last two months. Competing at a 2A level for the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton football team and attending a high school in a city with a population of just over 2,000, Nelson is under-the-radar in his own state. His D1-level frame and athletic potential were too much for the Gophers to pass up.
Nelson’s 6-foot-6 height is obviously what makes him projectable as a prospect, but his game is much more. He has high-level athleticism for someone his size; reportedly being recorded to have a nine-foot broad jump and a 4.5-second shuttle. He is very light on his feet and his potential is something that Gophers offensive line coach Brian Callahan has to be excited about. He will likely need to add weight and strength, but that is something expected for any incoming offensive lineman.
–> High School (hudl) highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/2Esjd8
His versatility can be highlighted on the basketball court as well, as Nelson also plays on the hardwood for Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s basketball team. His basketball highlights even show a few dunks at 270+ pounds, just confirming how special of an athlete he is.
Overall his size paired with elite athleticism, makes him a very fun project for the Gophers’ coaching staff to work with. He has only played left tackle for his high school team, but at 6-foot-6 he might also be asked to move into guard. With his athleticism, I would expect that transition to be seamless if needed. The only person stopping Tony Nelson from being a starting Big Ten offensive lineman will be himself.
You can always speculate if this was a “diamond-in-the-rough” type of prospect that P.J. Fleck and his staff found first before everyone else, but from what shows up on tape there certainly no denying it.