At 6’5 and 265 pounds, Andrew Nelson is near impossible to miss when he walks into the room. The Hershey, Pennsylvania native is hoping he can make that same type of immediate impression on coaches and fans alike this season. Nelson was only rated as the 69th best Offensive Tackle in the 2013 recruiting class by Rivals.com, though his combination of size and quickness saw him receive offers from both local rivals Pitt, as well as one of the newest members of the SEC, Missouri. His ability to play on both sides of the ball and versatility as to where he can play on the line makes him an invaluable member to Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.
While it’s unlikely Nelson will see significant time on the field this season with Donovan Smith and Adam Gress anchoring down both Offensive Tackle spots, Nelson could have a very bright future in front of him. Gress will be in his last year of eligibility and other than he and Smith the Lions are fairly thin at Tackle. If he were to Redshirt this season, there’s a legitimate possibility either Nelson or the previous profiled Tanner Hartman could be a 4 year starter depending on upcoming recruiting classes. Coming from Central Pennsylvania’s District 3 has it’s advantages for Nelson. In his seasons at Hershey High School he lined up across the ball from elite recruits and current Big Ten players such as Noah Spence of Ohio State and Brock Dean of Maryland.
If Nelson can translate his play from the high school level to the college game Penn State could be looking at a diamond in the rough recruit. He has demonstrated quick feet and good hands for a guy of his size and rarely gets caught flat-footed at the snap. In a conference that boasts names such as Spence and Denicos Allen of Michigan State, having two strong Tackles is an absolute must. Securing the signature of Nelson could prove to be a huge step towards ensuring one of those two spots are filled for the foreseeable future. While you may not see it on the field this season, remember the name Andrew Nelson as he could be a huge piece for Head Coach Bill O’Brien in the coming seasons.