Iowa bests ND, Stanford for DE Nelson

The Class of 2014 is one of the strongest recruiting cycles in Iowa in recent years, and the Hawkeyes are taking full advantage. Iowa landed another significant piece to its 2014 class.

Defensive end Matt Nelson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) committed to Iowa on Thursday over Notre Dame and Stanford. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound prospect announced his commitment on Twitter and confirmed it with ESPN.com.

“It just felt perfect for me, a combination of everything made it right for me,” Nelson said.

Nelson will play defensive end in Iowa City (he was also recruited as a tight end and linebacker) and is the first defensive line commitment in the Hawkeyes’ 2014 class.

Iowa now has five in-state commitments in the 2014 class, surpassing its total in 2013 (four) and 2012 (three). More importantly, among those five 2014 commits from Iowa are Ross Pierschbacher, the No. 1 guard in the country, and four-star Jay Scheel, both of whom are ESPN 300 prospects.

Nelson was more than willing to play in Palo Alto or South Bend, though, so the fact that Iowa was the in-state school was not the deciding factor. Although he admits it is a nice perk to play in front of his family.

“It’s a cool feeling knowing you can look up and see your friends and family in the stands,” he said, “but distance wasn’t really an issue because I enjoy traveling.”

The Hawkeyes are coming off a 4-8 season, and while Nelson, Pierschbacher, Scheel and the rest of the 2014 class will not arrive until next year, Nelson hopes this class can get Iowa back to its winning ways.

“It’s an impressive class,” he said. “I hope we can do something special.”