Clemson is one of the six teams left for SAF Dakaari Nelson (6-3 200) after he cut his list to a final six earlier this week. The others still on the board are Penn State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon and Auburn. Those not making the cut from his previous short list of 11 were Florida State, UCF, Texas, A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Among his other offers were USC, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Duke, Michigan, Cincinnati, Missouri, NC State and Jackson State.
Nelson visited Clemson for a junior day in mid-January. He and his family members apparently were shown a great time by safeties coach Mickey Conn and the rest of the staff, because that visit still resonated with Nelson months later when he decided on his final six.
“Definitely how well they treated my family when we visited, and how humble the coaching staff was with them being so known like they are,” Nelson said. “We (he and Conn) have a pretty close relationship. He checks in with me every day to see how my day is going, so we have a pretty close relationship.”
Nelson has taken a good look at the backend of the Clemson secondary and how Conn coaches his guys. From that he has concluded he would be a good fit in the scheme Conn runs with his safeties.
“He likes my versatility and my length,” Nelson said. “He likes how rangy I am and the amount of grass I can cover. I like how he coaches. Most guys can coach guys that are already talented. I know he used to coach high school football and middle school. Coaching that young is not easy. To take that coaching into the college world and still produce great safeties and DBs, that impressed me a lot.”
Nelson also has visited Tennessee, Florida State and Ole Miss during his spring travels. He has set an official visit with Penn State for June 10th and will take one or two more in the summer and the rest in the fall. Clemson wants him for his last official visit during the season and he plans to give the Tigers want they want. He also wants to get back to Clemson this summer.
The Tigers will need those visits with Nelson to make up some ground. Nelson has a favorite at this point, and it’s not Clemson.
“I’d say my number one right now is probably Penn State,” Nelson said.
Nelson nabbed eight interceptions last season returning a pair of them for touchdowns. He also was in on 72 tackles.