Utah State football: DJ Nelson a good fit for the Aggies

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 27 2011 10:26 a.m. MDT

In this file photo taken Aug. 26, 2011, DJ Nelson of Logan, right, pitches out to John Schmidt of Logan, left, during the Logan vs. Cottonwood football played in Murray, Utah.

Ravell Call, Deseret News archives

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Logan quarterback phenom DJ Nelson committed to sign a letter of intent with Utah State this coming February. It didn't take him more than a week to decide that the Aggie program was the best fit for him.

Nelson committed to Utah State head coach Gary Andersen this past Thursday and couldn't be more comfortable with his decision.

"I'm a huge Utah State fan and I've always been," said the Logan native. "It's really the only place that I've wanted to play. I thought about waiting to see what other offers I'd get and play the process, but it didn't make sense when I thought about everything that Utah State has to offer me."

Nelson has a lot to offer the Aggie football program in turn.

The numbers he puts up every week are nothing short of spectacular. Through six games this season, he's rushed for 703 yards and 11 touchdowns while throwing for another 1,461 yards and 22 touchdowns.

He's been able to dominate play from his starting quarterback position despite his diminutive 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame. While such size usually scares off potential recruiters, Utah State coaches feel that he'll be able to thrive within their system.

"Coaches tell me that I remind them a lot of Chuckie Keeton with how he plays," said Nelson. "He's not the biggest guy either, but he's doing a great job for them, and they think I can do the same kind of stuff when I'm there."

Nelson received a phone call from coach Andersen a little over a week ago informing him of his offer. To say that the call took him by surprise would be an understatement.

"I seriously thought it was a prank call," he said. "It was out of nowhere and I really wasn't expecting it. So yeah, I was very excited — couldn't have been more excited to get that offer."

Nelson didn't commit on the spot, as mentioned. He took some time to think about his decision and in the end decided that his ties to the Aggie program were just too strong.

The fieldhouse at Utah State is named after his great-grandfather George Nelson, who was a legendary wrestler and coach. He has numerous uncles and a father who played for USU athletic programs and is more than happy to follow their lead.

"We're a strong Utah State family," he said. "We're all huge Utah State fans and that's a big reason why I committed. It's such an honor for me to play where my dad did, my uncles and everyone else."

Nelson's older brother Riley is currently part of BYU's football program after having played one year for Utah State.

DJ Nelson will be joining a football program that is on the rise. Under Andersen, Nelson believes the program will reach new heights.

"I've been around the program a lot and I love how he runs things," he said. "He definitely has them going in the right direction. He's great with his players and I'm very close friends with his two sons that are part of the program. I really couldn't imagine playing for anyone else or attending another school."

Nelson will leave for a planned LDS mission after he graduates. The timing couldn't be better for him as Keeton will be graduating the year after he returns home.

"Everything is a perfect fit for me," he said. "I'll have a chance to contribute immediately and like I said, I just love the program and the school. I can't wait for the opportunities I'll have there."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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