With Virginia's 2013 class close to completion, the coaching staff can now focus more energy on building relationships with 2014 prospects. On Sunday, Virginia landed their first commitment for the 2014 cycle, when Florida native and defensive lineman Chris Nelson gave his pledge to the Cavaliers. Nelson plays at Victory Christian in Lakeland, Florida, and was a teammate for the past few years with Cavalier freshman linebacker Demetrie Brim. According to 247sports' recruiting database, Nelson only held one offer, from UVA, but drew interest from several SEC powers, including LSU and Tennessee.
Nelson is listed as a defensive lineman, which makes sense considering his size at 6'3'' 280lbs. However, in his highlight package, Nelson plays some linebacker and fullback. In short, Nelson looks like a mauler. He's a really big kid that can pack a punch and deliver blows to the opposition's ball carriers. To go along with his strength, Nelson also has impressive athleticism, especially for a player approaching 300 lbs. Playing linebacker, Nelson showed great closing speed pursuing the ball carrier and wreaking havoc, but also the ability to drop in coverage and make a play on the ball. Considering Nelson is only a rising junior, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to think he might grow a little more, and be slotted at defensive tackle.
Nelson becomes Virginia's first commit in what could prove to be a huge haul for 2014. Nelson seems like a really solid prospect (probably a high three-star ranking if I was guessing), and it will be interesting to see what offers he picks up between now and Signing Day in February of 2014. A lot of credit in Nelson's recruitment should go to Demetrie Brim, which is probably one of the biggest reasons Nelson was interested in Virginia in the first place. UVA fans probably hope that Brim is just as influential with the recruitment of his cousin, 2013 star defensive back Priest Willis, who is considering seriously considering UVA at this point.