The Virginia Cavaliers' 2014 recruiting class is back down to three members today. Chris Nelson decommitted from Virginia today, after making his pledge to the Cavaliers last August. The Lakeland native is projected as a defensive tackle at the college level. Nelson, whose cousin Demetrie Brim is projected to start at linebacker for the Cavaliers this season, hasn't committed to another school, but has rather decided to open up his recruitment and survey his options. The Victory Christian standout is a consensus 3-star prospect, and racked up 150 tackles and 10 sacks as a Junior.
In addition to Virginia, Nelson holds offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Central Florida and others. Since committing to Virginia before the 2012 season began, Nelson has taken several visits to others schools, including Miami and Central Florida. The defensive tackle visited Charlottesville for Virginia's Spring Game a few weeks ago, and by all accounts, the visit went well for the Sunshine State native. It is unclear at this point which schools Nelson is seriously considering, and whether or not UVa is still a factor in his recruitment.
To some extent, people could see this one coming. Nelson had gone back and forth to a degree on how committed to Virginia he really was, and obviously was listening to other schools' overatures, since he was taking visits while committed. The fact that Nelson made the trip up to Charlottesville for the Spring Game and seemed to enjoy his visit seemed to be a good sign, but Nelson hasn't been totally solid in his commitment to the Hoos in some time. There is always a chance he could re-affirm his commitment at a later date, but I wouldn't back on that at this point. Virginia is a serious contender for the nation's top two defensive tackles, Tidewater natives Andrew Brown and Derrick Nnadi. Landing those two would more than make up for Nelson's departure, and Nelson himself may have seen that himself.
Defensive Tackle is a major need for Virginia's 2014, and expect UVa to pursue Brown and Nnadi vigorously. Though fans tend to get worried when prospects back out of their pledges, this one isn't too catastrophic a loss for the Hoos. UVa could definitely land both Nnadi and Brown, both of whom had very impressive showings at the Rivals Camp Series in Richmond last weekend. Plus, with Virginia taking a small class in 2014, Nelson's decision opens up another scholarship spot for the staff to play with. Although Nelson might take his talents elsewhere, Virginia's 2014 class will be fine, and better that he flip now than at a late stage when he can't be replaced.