WVU in Top 5 for Junior DL Monty Nelson - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU in Top 5 for Junior DL Monty Nelson

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MORGANTOWN -

Monty Nelson knows what he wants in a college. As he continues to receive scholarship offers heading into his senior season of football, he has a simple three-part evaluation process to grade out the teams that are after him.

"No. 1 is education, No. 2 is depth chart and No. 3 is just how well do I know the coaching staff personally," Nelson (junior highlights) said earlier this week.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive lineman says he currently holds eight offers and has begun looking for ways to narrow down his focus as his spring semester wraps up.

For that first part, the education, the Plantation High School (Fla.) student will do research on his own and soak in as much as he can when he takes his official visits in the fall.

West Virginia University is one of five schools that he feels comfortable saying he will take an official visit to, and much of his reason why focuses on the second and third parts of his evaluation process.

With other offers from programs like Pittsburgh, Illinois, Louisville and Wisconsin, Nelson is interested in finding the destination that offers him the quickest route to getting on the field.

Based on his conversations with WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie, he believes the Mountaineers could fit that bill.

"Coach Gillespie has told me that the best man wins, no matter if it's a senior or junior," says Nelson. "I looked at the depth chart and I see freshmen starting or playing ahead of seniors, so that really opened my eyes."

Nelson knows from West Virginia's track record and from what the coaches have told him that no veteran's position is safe from a younger player if that younger player comes in and works harder and shows he is the best candidate for the job.

In the months ahead of him that he will still be working at the high school level, Nelson hopes to improve his body and his stats so that he can be perceived as a viable option as soon as he hits a college campus.

"I just want to get at least 16 sacks. That's a goal," Nelson says of his on-field accomplishments. "A goal for me in the weight room would be to bench press 500 pounds by the time I leave high school."

In addition to chatting with Gillespie, Nelson has become familiar with WVU defensive line coach Erik Slaughter. He says Slaughter likes him for his athleticism at his size and his ability to get up the field and after the ball carrier or the quarterback, something he covets at the nose tackle position.  

"We've talked about the defensive scheme, how I'll fit into the scheme coming in as a freshman so I can make a real impression. That's the main focus of what we've been talking about," says Nelson.

The third part of his evaluation, the relationship with the coaches, continues to develop in each conversation he has, whether on the phone or in person.

Nelson says Gillespie visited his practice on Monday and watched every move he made as he went through the drills and the team periods. The extra focus on how he performed did not go unnoticed.

"[It was] definitely more pressure more than anything, but it's not more motivation," Nelson says of the extra pair of eyes. "It's just something that I do, it's just me. There's a little more pressure, though."

Pressure to make a good impression on the man who has already seen something in film that led to a scholarship offer. Gillespie wants Nelson on his team, and as their relationship grows, his chances of getting just that grow, too.

"I've been talking with Coach Gillespie a lot now. I call him on the phone every week and he's a great person to talk with, so we've been talking about the scheme and West Virginia and just life in general," says Nelson. "I think I know Coach Gillespie very well and these past couple of weeks we've gotten to know each other a lot better."

The Mountaineers are grading out well based on Nelson's three-part evaluation process, but with plenty of time left before February's signing day, they will have to keep it up to land this defensive lineman for 2013.  

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