The offers have been rolling in for Murfreesboro Riverdale defensive lineman Javon Nelson this spring. Tuesday saw two more come his way. First it was South Carolina and then a conversation and an offer that he had been hoping would come this spring. On the other end of the phone was Tennessee wide receivers coach Tee Martin. "It felt great," Nelson said. "I had a big smile on my face. He asked me about my day at school and practice. He was telling me about how they looked at my film and how they liked my game. They told me they were offering me and I look forward to getting over to Knoxville next month for camp."
Nelson has never been on Tennessee's campus. But he grew up in a family that for the most part likes the color orange. "All of them is except my older cousin," Nelson said. "She went to Georgia, but they are all cool with Tennessee. They know I like that orange color too (laughs)."
Tennessee has been by Riverdale twice this spring with both Martin and Tracy Rocker stopping by to check in on Nelson. Rocker and Nelson have been starting to build a bond early in the process. "Coach Rocker and I have been building a relationship," Nelson said. "He came down to see me this spring and when we have spoken over the phone and (texted) messaged, he's been great. He's been telling me about the defense and stuff." Nelson has Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee from the SEC that have all recently offered. Georgia could be next with the Bulldogs showing more interest of late. He's grateful for the opportunities. "It's been a great journey," Nelson said. "It makes me want to push myself even more and find my best so I can find myself in the best aspects of my life both on and off the field. It makes me feel so wonderful to see my hard work pay off. It's going to give me options for my future and to be able to do big things for my family."
Riverdale was down by their standards, last season, but Nelson has high hopes for this fall. He believes he and his teammates can turn things around in Rutherford County. "I feel like we will bounce back because last season we had a young team," Nelson said. "Now we have all played together and we are working together as a family. I see the work we are putting in and I know I'm getting bigger and faster and stronger." Nelson trains with On Top Athletics out of middle Tennessee. OTA has developed a nice group of defensive linemen with Georgia signee Zion Logue and Tennessee targets Jay Hardy and Tre'Vonn Rybka joining Nelson in being highly coveted defensive linemen in the OTA family. Being a part of D-Line High has been a good motivating factor for Nelson. "When I compete with them it makes me push even more," Nelson said. "I see them living their dream and it makes me want to live mine. I want to push my limits farther and just beat them because they are great players."
Vols make good first impression on four-star, in-state DL ByRYAN CALLAHAN 4 hours ago
After getting an early scholarship offer from Tennessee more than a month earlier, Javon Nelson recently traveled to Knoxville to...
“I thought it was cool,” said Nelson, who’s ranked the No. 235 overall prospect and No. 17 strongside defensive end in the 2021 class and the No. 7 rising junior from Tennessee, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. “I liked the school down there. I liked the coaching staff when I was talking to everybody after the camp. I had a fun time. I took a tour of the campus and it was fun down there.”
“I mean, I feel like the ones I’ve been up there to — so Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vandy — I feel like they’re all up there,” he said. “I’ve gotten to talk to their coaching staffs more, and I feel like I know more of the team, and they’re higher on my list because I know them better.”
The Vols’ coaches already liked what they had seen from Nelson, but they were impressed with his performance during their camp. “When I was talking to (defensive line) coach (Tracy) Rocker, he told me he liked me, what I was doing,” Nelson said. “He said he liked how I had a twitch in me. He said, ‘I like the fact that, when you get off the line, it’s not hesitant.’ He liked the fact that I get off the line, don’t think about it. I just get off the ball and I use my speed to my advantage, and he liked how I was moving and everything. “I did really good in my one-on-ones. I don’t think I really lost much.”
“They liked me down there,” Nelson said. “When I talked to Coach Pruitt afterward, he was saying he could see me being a rusher off the edge. He was saying that he could really see me being a five(-technique) and everything. "They’re looking at me highly. They were telling me that they want me to be down there. And they were telling me I shouldn’t look out of state. I need to stay at home and be there close to my family and everything.”
“I mean, I really like the campus and everything,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to go down there and I’m going to go look at the school more now. After seeing it the first time, I’m going to get a few more looks on how I look at everything, because I liked it when I was down there.” He said he likes the idea of staying in-state, “and I liked being down there with Coach Rocker and how he coaches and everything. I just liked the way he coached and talking (with him) when we sat and had our conversation,” Nelson said of Rocker. “I met with him and Coach Pruitt, mainly, afterward.”
While Nelson currently isn’t planning to take any more visits in late July after the ongoing dead period, he said he’s hoping to make it back to Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt to attend games this season. He said he doesn’t “know yet” when he might be ready to decide on a college, but for now he’s “feeling like I’m going to commit” during his senior year.