Everyone loves the local star.
Gainesville might not produce the best Division-I (yeah, I said D-I) talent, but every now and then someone breaks that mold. You had Chris Doering back in the day. There was Clinton Portis a few years back. Vernell Brown. Cornelius Ingram is considered a local. And Earl Okine is the most recent Gainesville guy to make it to the big show.
This year, the spotlight is on Gainesville High linebacker Kevin Nelson, a relative unknown in the recruiting world before now. He finished his junior year with 125 total tackles and was selected First Team All-Area 3A-6A. He stands at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, which means he’s a bit small now, but has plenty of room to grow in the next year. He’s been clocked at 4.65 in the 400-yard dash, which he can definitely improve on this offseason.
Things really started to pick up for Nelson this spring once Florida offered last week. Nelson has been waiting for the Gators to offer and seemed stoked at the thought of playing at UF.
“It would be great,” Nelson said in a text message. “I think about playing for (the Gators).”
Since his UF offer came, Nelson said he’s been racking up offers from some big-time schools. Nelson claims offers from LSU, Louisville, South Carolina and Miami. Central Florida has offered as well.
He doesn’t have a leader at this point and is hoping to earn a few more offers this summer after he competes at a few camps.
“Right now I have six (offers),” he said. “There are no leaders, just schools that offered. They are just a motivation-booster. My options are open.”
Even though he’s just minutes away from Florida’s campus, the Gators will have to battle with instate rival Miami for Nelson’s services. Nelson grew up in the Miami area and his family is split down the middle when it comes to allegiances.
“I grew up watching both (Florida and Miami) and loving both teams,” he said. “One side of my family is ‘Cane fans and one side of them (are) Gators.”
It’s still too early to tell, but it should be fun following the local guy on his wild ride that will be his college football recruitment.