Justis Nelson (Mesquite, Texas/Dallas Christian) had the nation’s most prestigious universities in his back pocket, entertaining offers from Harvard, Colgate, Air Force and Bucknell.
When it was time for the 6-foot-2, 168-pound, two-way athlete to make a decision, however, playing in the Big 12 proved to be something he couldn’t pass up.
Nelson, a cornerback and receiver for Dallas Christian, verbally committed to Texas Tech on Monday. Recruited as an athlete by grad assistant Jeff Howard and offensive line coach Chris Thomsen, Nelson became the Red Raiders’ 12th commitment of the 2013 recruiting class.
“I love Tech. It definitely was one of my top choices,” Nelson said. “It was real hard, because I got offered by Harvard. That was a really hard decision to make. I’m glad I found the college for me.”
Nelson visited the Lubbock, Texas, campus last Wednesday and received the offer at that time. He stayed for Thursday’s camp and participated in drills for coaches. Nelson first got to know the coaching staff during a satellite camp last month in Rockwall, Texas.
“The coaches make you feel welcomed,” Nelson said. “They work you hard, but at the same time, you’re having a good time.”
Nelson’s decision meant he was turning down an Ivy League education. A student with a 3.8 grade-point average, Nelson strongly considered Harvard not only for the football but for the academic reputation and the post-graduate advantages.
For Nelson, however, playing for Tech was the blessing he said he prayed for, and he’s looking to becoming an instant contributor for the Red Raiders. As a receiver, Nelson caught 12 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown last season. As a cornerback, Nelson had 30 tackles and three interceptions.
“It was definitely a tough decision. Harvard is one of the top colleges in the world,” Nelson said. “I know my family wanted me to take into consideration the success that comes with going to Harvard. At the end of the day, I really thought Tech fit me more than Harvard.
“It’s definitely a blessing. My dad tells me every day to give out a prayer to God and to just ask him to keep me humble and thank him for all the blessings he gives me. It’s definitely humbling to know that I had the opportunity to go there.”