Signing Day Profile: OT Zion Nelson

Signing Day Profile: OT Zion Nelson

Stefan Adams
Sumter (SC) OT Zion Nelson has put pen to paper and signed with the Canes today. He is the 8th signee of the day.

The 6-5 240 pounder is a consensus 3-star prospect right now. According to the 247Composite, Nelson is the #2,273 player overall, the #191 ranked OT in the country, and the 39th best player in South Carolina.


Recruiting Story

Nelson had been committed to App State since July and had no other Power 5 offers until Miami came into the picture in early December. Nelson was recruited by UM with little fanfare and, although he had been hearing from Miami for weeks, nobody in recruiting circles ever brought up his name. The Canes brought him in on a secret official visit two weeks back and, after taking a few days to mull things over back home with his family, Nelson decided to flip his commitment to UM from App State.


Evaluation

Taking a look at his film, there’s no way to avoid saying this: Nelson is an absolute project at this stage of his development. At a listed 6’5” 240, he has nowhere near the size or strength needed to play offensive line at the college level right now and it is going to take him some time to get there. Nelson played left tackle for his high school team, so he does have experience at a big position of need for the Canes.

Despite looking like a tight end, Nelson actually plays with an overly aggressive demeanor, a Stacy Searels specialty, and doesn’t back down when challenged. Nelson’s frame works to his benefit in some scenarios, as he shows he is an asset in the screen game by using his athleticism to get downfield and pummel linebackers and DB’s. His length is also something that stands out as well, and Nelson knows how to extend his arms to keep defenders away from his body. It won’t happen right away, and Nelson certainly has the physical traits and frame to turn into a quality left tackle, but it is going to take a lot of hard work and coaching to get him there. He is the definition of “boom or bust” prospect.


The Team

Nelson joins offensive center Jakai Clark as the two signees for Stacy Searels’ offensive line today. Miami has struggled with their play up front for years, and they’ll be losing a three year starter at tackle this season. Tyree St. Louis was one of the only true tackles on the roster, and although he was solid overall, St. Louis’ play seemed to regress over time, and at best showed no real improvement by the end of his UM career.

St. Louis has no clear successor at left tackle; although Delone Scaife started at RT with mixed results, he’s really more of a guard type and is better suited to stay on the right side if anything. Rising senior George Brown is coming off injury and barely looked serviceable before that. Second year tackles Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalon’tae Hillery have shown absolutely nothing yet. John Campbell was a true freshman this season and may have more upside than any of these names, but needs to continue to add to his frame and become adept at the mental side of the game.


Redshirt Probability: 10/10

While there’s playing time available and Miami really needed to get a tackle in this class that could at the very least contribute on the two deep in 2019, Nelson is not going to be that guy. Due to being so underweight, Miami likely won’t know what it has in Nelson until year 3 and Nelson is a certainty to redshirt his freshman season at UM. By his redshirt sophomore season, Nelson will either be starting or transferring from the program; I feel like there’s no in-between.

 

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2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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