It was going to be a Twitter post. Carter Nelson committed in front of the Nebraska coaching staff and fellow 2024 recruits during his official visit last weekend. Maybe he’d send a tweet and be done with it. Then community became a factor. Why not celebrate the moment with those who helped him on the journey?
In the end, Nelson held a ceremony inside the Ainsworth gym on Wednesday for his commitment to Nebraska. He sat at a table with his family, his high school teammates behind him and coaches to his side. Nelson thanked them all before cutting to the chase—“I’m staying home” he said as he unzipped an Ainsworth jacket to show a Nebraska shirt. The 4-star recruit and No. 2 tight end in the class chose the Huskers over Georgia, Penn State and Notre Dame.
“I didn’t want to take it for granted because I know a lot of people would die to be in my shoes,” Nelson said of the recruiting process. “I’m only here because God blessed me for it. My family helped me to get there, my teammates helped me to get there.”
Nelson’s decision is another recruiting win for Nebraska tight end coach Bob Wager. The 8-man standout said he likes how Wager isn’t just a one-position specialist. The former Arlington-Martin head coach’s history of working with top-tier talent all over the field stood out.
“He’s coached all positions so he knows what it takes to be great,” Nelson said of Wager. “I’m excited to see what he does. I haven’t been able to see what he does so I’m excited to see how he handles things.
So too did offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, who isn’t going to lock Nelson into tight end at the college level. Coaches are excited to get Nelson into the strength and conditioning program to see if he could add 20 pounds of muscle. And just maybe his position could change with his body. Satterfield already wants to take Nelson out golfing to talk ball and anything else under the sun.
“He’s definitely going in with an open mindset,” Nelson said. “He doesn’t have ‘tight end’ at the end of my name he has ‘athlete.’ So I’m excited to see, in the future, what his plans will be.”
Nelson is also bought into head coach Matt Rhule. He believes in the vision and excitement for the program.
“So far, I’m loving what he’s doing,” Nelson said. “He’s switched the locker room like that, at Nebraska. I’m really excited to see how much change there is from last year’s team to this year’s team.”
The champion jumper visited Nebraska last season and in previous years. He communicated with the previous staff and finds a new excitement and fresh air with the Rhule staff.
The No. 21st recruit in Nebraska’s 2024 class turned down top-tier programs like Georgia, Penn State and Norte Dame. Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman flew into northern Nebraska and visited Nelson in January at Ainsworth. Nelson called turning them down one of the hardest decisions he’s ever made. Each one told them their plans for him and told the Ainsworth senior-to-be he’s exactly what they were looking for. He hopes to continue relationships with those coaches he’s gotten to know throughout the process.
Instead of joining the two-time defending national champion with dynamic tight ends or two other national powers who both developed NFL Draft picks at the position, a Nelson trusted the new vision. Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek are now both cutting their teeth in pro camps while the Huskers’ tight end room looks interesting. There’s former No. 1 positional recruits Thomas Fidone II and Arik Gilbert, and gritty athletic prospects like Janiran Bonner, Nate Boerkircher, Jake Appleget and more. The Huskers also added Ismael Smith Flores and Cayden Echternach to the room in the 2023 class. Nelson joins Ian Flynt among the tight ends in the 2024 class.