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  • Tyler Harden

From Alabama to Penn State: Four-star safety, Dakaari Nelson, talks his commitment to Penn State

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Daakari Nelson is used to being far from home for school, which is what made the decision for him to commit to Penn State being from Alabama so easy.

Nelson is from Livingston, Alabama, drives an hour and a half every day to attend Selma High School in Selma, Alabama. “It’s crazy, I actually don’t stay in Selma, I stay an hour and a half from my school. So I have to make that drive every morning.”

The Penn State commit is a six-foot, three-inch, 203-pound safety, who is ranked as the No. 24 safety, No. 19 recruit in Alabama, and the No. 268 overall recruit in the country according to 247sports. He joined me Wednesday afternoon on Instagram Live for an interview

Dakaari Nelson Interview

Nelson’s far commute to school had its advantages, as it gave him a chance to reflect on football and the recruiting process. But his time spent in the car took stress off of him when deciding what school would be the best fit for him. “I actually enjoyed it [the recruiting process]. I didn’t make it too stressful because on that drive [to school], I get to think about a lot of stuff, so it wasn’t too stressful.”

Making a decision to move far from home, Nelson prioritized his family, how they were treated throughout his recruitment, and their thoughts on the schools they visited in his decision. “I got a big family, I got three little sisters, twelve, seven and three,” Nelson said. “So I went up there, both times, they made sure they were good. My parents, out of all the schools we visited, that [Penn State] was their favorite. And they felt like Penn State fit me the most, and I felt the same way.”

Nelson’s relationship with his family sets the bar high when looking for the right coaching staff throughout the recruiting process. However, Penn State was able to become close with Nelson. The Nittany Lions offered Nelson almost a year ago and recruited him heavily ever since. “I’d say my relationship with the coaching staff is pretty good, pretty close,” Nelson said. “We were talking for a minute; we talked every day leading up to my commitment.”

If Nelson didn’t find what he wanted out of a school at Penn State, he likely would have stayed closer to home. Nelson held 17 scholarship offers. “If I didn’t choose Penn State, I probably would have chosen Clemson, Auburn, Ole Miss, or Tennessee.”

Penn State is currently ranked eighth in the recruiting class rankings according to 247sports. While the Nittany Lions are looked to add more to their Class of 2023, Nelson and the Penn State commits are also looking to add to their Class of 2024. “We’re doing a lot, not just with the 2023 class, but we’re trying to get some of them ‘24s to jump on board.”

Nelson could help recruits far from Penn State commit to the Nittany Lions by sharing his experience, and his perspective on why Penn State is still a special place no matter how far away you live from campus.

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