The Iowa State football program recently added some depth to next year’s defensive line with the commitment of Yuba Community College (Cal.) defensive end Rony Nelson. Nelson, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound pass rusher, plans on joining Iowa State for the second semester and will participate in spring football, according to his Yuba head coach Ted Hoal.
CycloneFanatic.com caught up with Hoal on Monday morning to get the scoop on Nelson’s strengths as a football player.
“He is extremely quick. He was a linebacker that we got out of high school out in Miami. He reminds me, not at this level, but he reminds me a lot of what you see in the NFL now. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end that can just fly up the field. That’s Rony”
Nelson’s biggest challenges will be?
“Until he picks up the defense, which obviously is going to be a challenge. It’s always a challenge going from one level to the next. When it comes to putting him in situations where you need an athlete, like second and one situations or third and one situations, you know passing downs. You can plug a kid like that in anytime and he’ll get up the field and make something happen.”
Hoal on Nelson joining the team this spring… “It is a huge deal. It is as big of an opportunity for the football program as it is the player coming in because if you find yourself in a situation where you have a special player…we had a linebacker who went to Oklahoma a few years ago. When the brought him in starting in January, all of the sudden the kid was a little bit better than they thought. They did some extra things with him. Based off of what I know that Rony can do, I am thinking that this is big and that they can get him to do a whole lot of things. The run game is going to be something that will be difficult for him to learn easily. But looking at a guy who you can zone blitz with…wait till you see him. He is really, really quick and really fast.”
Chris’ Take While listening to Hoal’s responses to my questions, I couldn’t help but think that Nelson is a very nice fit for a Big 12 defense when it comes to trying to stop the spread. Hoal agreed with me after I made that comment.
“I think that is one of the reasons why they went after him. He is a perfect player for that. He is one of those kids that is a Miami kid who people are looking for. He has some great quickness. He can get up the field and be very disruptive. They can teach him and see exactly what it is that he can do. When a guy comes in come fall, you can teach him to do some simple things. If you have him in the spring, now all of the sudden, you can teach him how to zone blitz. You can teach him how to do some other things that can make him more explosive. I really think that they are going to like him.”
I’ve never seen Nelson play so it is hard to give first-hand analysis on his ability. This just seems to me like a best-case scenario type of deal though. He’s a speedy, athletic, JUCO defensive end who has all of the second semester to work out with the team. He’ll be on Iowa State’s weight program and should be very comfortable with the defense by the time August rolls around.