Homegrown Husker Garrett Nelson announced on Tuesday he is not returning to Nebraska for a final season of eligibility. Instead, he’s declaring for the NFL Draft.
In a statement issued on his own social media accounts, Nelson thanked friends, family, teammates, coaches and community that surrounded him in Scottsbluff, Lincoln and across the state.
“Ever since I was a little kid, my dream to attend the University of Nebraska, follow in my father’s footsteps and become a collegiate athlete was a constant in my life,” Nelson’s statement opened. “Representing this university, the people of this state and my family was one of the highest honors I will have in my life.”
Thank you for everything ❤️ pic.twitter.com/GTwqTJWTkZ
— Garrett Nelson (@gnelson763) December 27, 2022
His father, Chris Nelson, was an All-American wrestler at Nebraska.
It’s unclear, as of now, if Nelson has hired an agent and is therefore ineligible from returning to Lincoln. As of Tuesday, scouts and draft evaluators haven’t graded Nelson’s chances.
Nelson was one of four team captains during the 2022 season as voted on by players. He was selected as a second-team all-Big Ten edge rusher by both media and coaches. Nelson finished the 2022 season with a career-high 65 tackles, nine for loss (team high) and 5.5 sacks (team high). He finished his Nebraska career having made 32 consecutive starts.
Nelson played in 43 games across his four-year collegiate career. He made 80 solo tackles, 87 assisted for a total 167. He tallied 26 TFLs, including 12 sacks. The edge rusher deflected four passes, recovered and forced two fumbles each.
Fans clamored for Nelson, who was among the best front seven recruits in the country coming out of Scottsbluff. In 2018, he was a semifinalist for the 2018 high school Butkus Award, bestowed to the best linebacker. He committed to Nebraska in the summer of 2017, ahead of his junior year at Scottsbluff. Multiple recruiting sites ranked Nelson among the best defensive ends in the country for the 2019 Recruiting Class.
Nelson mulled his future at the end of the season, saying he’d need time to think about it. His last moments in a Nebraska uniformed involved carrying the Heroes Trophy to Husker fans who traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, after defeating the rival Hawkeyes for the first time in 8 years.
He is the fifth Husker to declare for the NFL Draft after Trey Palmer, Ochaun Mathis, Travis Vokolek and Chancellor Brewington. Vokolek and Brewington had no college eligibility remaining.