Before his official visit this past weekend, Penn State was DaKaari Nelson’s top school.
After the visit, Penn State is still No. 1 for the four-star Class of 2023 safety from Selma High School in Selma, Alabama.
Penn State fans are going to like this.
DaKaari Nelson (2023), a four-star safety from Selma High School in Selma, Alabama, told me via Zoom that Penn State was his No. 1 school before this past weekend’s official visit.
“They still are my No. 1 school,” he said.
More later. pic.twitter.com/1tHFdgz8Mk
— Joe Smeltzer (@joesmeltzer775) June 13, 2022
“The visit went great,” Nelson told Nittany Sports Now. “They treated my family well. It went well, and Penn State, going into the visit, they were my No. 1 school, and they still are my No. 1 school.”
Nelson doesn’t know when he plans on committing yet. Penn State is in his top six, along with Auburn, Clemson, Kentucky, Oregon and Tennessee.
He plans on taking official visits to Clemson, Tennessee and Texas—and outsider—in the fall and has a visit to Auburn “in the works.”
Part of the reason Penn State is Nelson’s No. 1 school is his relationship with safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter.
“He was telling me if I mess up on a play, and we go back and watch film, and I tell him why I reacted to this instead of doing the right thing, he’d be like ‘ok, I see why you did that,'” Nelson said. “Then he can help me correct myself and change that to make a better play or a better decision.”
Recently, Poindexter helped former Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker become an All-American in 2021 and a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears this past April.
At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Nelson’s frame resembles Brisker’s (6-foot-1, 200 pounds).
Nelson is aware of what Brisker did at Penn State, and Brisker caught Nelson’s eye when he first visited Penn State Nov. 20 for its Senior Day game against Rutgers.
“I pointed him out before anyone could tell me to watch him,” he said. “I have been watching him. I watched his senior highlights, so I have been watching him.”
The first time Nelson visited Penn State, he and his family were there mainly to see Beaver Stadium and the team’s football facilities.
This time, Nelson got to see more of State College.
“I got to see more of the city,” Nelson said, “and there was more to it than I thought.”
What did he like about State College?
“Every corner you turn, you see something about Nittany Lions or Penn State,” he said. “I love that a lot.”
Nelson also loved talking with current Penn State players, such as safety Jaylen Reed, and fellow 2023 class members, such as quarterback and Penn State commit Marcus Stokes and 2023 Alabama commit Elliot Washington II.
Nelson also talked with Yazeed Haynes, who announced his commitment to Penn State Sunday evening.
Spending time with other players was an essential part of the visit for Nelson.
“Of course, you try to have fun,” Nelson said, “but I look for the players’ interaction a lot.”
Nelson said that he and head coach James Franklin communicate with each other “every other day.”
Between now and the beginning of his senior season at Selma, Nelson’s focus is more on how he can help the team get better than on improving his recruiting stock.
Another critical factor in Nelson’s recruitment is how well the school treats his family.
“I got three little sisters,” Nelson said, “and I know they can get hectic. So I try to see how much they help with them.”