Not much could make up for the anguish of losing to Colorado State on Saturday night. Still, Utah State coaches had to be happy with the commitment of D.J. Nelson, who has been one of the best high school players in the state this season.
Nelson, the quarterback from Logan High and the leader of Class 4A's most prolific offense, pledged to the Aggies late Sunday night, committing to Gary Andersen's program just days after securing an official offer.
With his pledge, Nelson re-kindled a bit of controversy, through no fault of his own. He's the younger brother of BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, who played his first season at USU, left for a mission but then transferred to the Cougars when he returned.
D.J. Nelson knows the history. When reached by the Tribune, however, he made it clear that the prior decision by his older sibling would have no bearing on his own career.
"I'm aware of it," D.J. Nelson said. "Me and Riley both love each other and I'm happy for him and he's happy for me. But our situations are completely different. They couldn't be more different. It's a different coaching staff, a different scenario. So it's really not that big a deal to me."
The Tribune has learned that Nelson is in fact being recruited to play quarterback, which may come as a surprise since Nelson is 5-foot-10 and most had him projected as a defensive back collegiately because of his superior athleticism and relative lack of size.
From USU's view, however, Nelson is projected to grow a couple of more inches. He will head straight out on an LDS mission so he has a few more years to mature physically, and Nelson is directing an offense similar to what the Aggies are running.
Nelson is having arguably the best individual season in the state through six games this year. He has thrown for 1,461 yards, a state-leading 22 touchdowns and hasn't thrown an interception. He's run for 703 yards and 11 more touchdowns. As an offense, Logan has scored at least 40 points in five of its six games.
"I love playing quarterback," Nelson said. "Utah State wanting me at quarterback is a big reason for me committing. I really like what Utah State has going on. Coach Andersen has things going in the right direction. They are doing some great things."
Nelson said that Chuckie Keeton's success as a rookie quarterback has had a big impact on his decision to commit as well. He becomes the second quarterback from Logan High to commit to Utah State during Andersen's tenure. Jeff Manning is in the final stages of his mission and will return home this winter. Manning, 6-4 with a strong arm, will be a freshman next season.
D.J. Nelson at a glance
•Younger brother of Riley Nelson, former USU commit
• Leads the state with 22 touchdown passes
• Committed to Utah State on Sunday night