March 18, 2009

Rams target sees popularity grow

A busy couple of weeks has resulted in three scholarship offers for Tucson (Ariz.) athlete and Colorado State target Keanu Nelson. After receiving an offer from the Rams, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound speedster collected offers from Brigham Young, Washington State and Nebraska in the span of two weeks.

Nelson proved his worth for Sabino High School a year ago as he rushed 75 times for 571 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 480 yards and another three scores. His value in the return game is measured by his 443 yards n 17 returns - good for a 26.06 yards per attempt. Those numbers have resulted in four offers that are equally intriuging for Nelson.

"I feel really blessed and fortunate that I could have such an opportunity," Nelson said in regards to his future in football. "That is basically an education I can have for free. I don't want it to get to my head or overwhelm me. I really like the way my parents and coach keep me in check."

The BYU offer brings with it the chance to play in a traditionally strong offense at a school that has a strong academic reputation.

"I don't necessarily know much about the school, but I know they are equally committed to academics as well as athletics," Nelson said. "Those are two things I value very highly, as does my family. I am not Mormon, and I am sure there would be a culture change, but it wouldn't be that much of a change. They (BYU) said the evaluated me athletically, academically and spiritually, which took me by surprise."

Washington State would be a homecoming of sorts for Nelson, whose father attended Wazzu, but is making it clear to Keanu that this is his decision.

"They said they were going to offer me," Nelson said. "I haven't received anything yet. Their coaches said they wanted to learn more about me because they are wanted to recruit not just good athletes, but high-character people. Wazzu is interesting to me because my family is based in Seattle - uncles, aunts, grandmother and some of my mom's family is also in the Tri-City area."

The Nebraska offer would give Nelson the chance to participate in a football program whose reputation proceeds it. Nelson said he was impressed with the tradition that follows Nebraska football, as well as the fact they routinely turn out Academic All-Americans.

"Nebraska was was interesting," Nelson said. "They did the same the thing CSU did. All their coaches said they are very excited about me at all the positions I play, which is what Colorado State did. They said they don't even know what position I could play, but I could play the position I felt best fit me. I also like the fact that from when I have seen them on TV, I know the football atmosphere is phenomonal, which is is what it is like at my high school. I already know their spring football game has sold out and that is really cool. I like that a lot."

Colorado State is still holding firm in Nelson's mind. Nelson, who plans on majoring in either pre-med or pre-law, said the letters are still coming from CSU quarterbacks coach Darren Wilkinson and a visit isn't out of the questions.

"I have been trying to stay in touch with him (Wilkinson)," Nelson said. "He was telling me about their spring practice. I wish I could see it - I don't know if I will be able to, but if spring break comes together and we are able to get our trips together it would be great to see them."

While they have yet to offer a scholarship, the hometown Arizona Wildcats have also kept in constant contact with Nelson and have invited him to attend a spring practice. Through it all, Nelson is beginning to understand what he likes in a recruiting call and has two early favorites.

"I can tell when a coach is talking to me, how interested they are," Nelson said. "It would seem Colorado State and Nebraska are interested in me, not in one side of the ball, but both and that is kind of something I like. Those two schools stand out a little bit."

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