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SEC DB from PA with Penn State football ties enters the transfer portal

An SEC defensive back who once held a crystal ball in favor of Penn State football coming out of high school has entered the transfer portal #WeAre



Penn State football, Keenan Nelson Jr., South Carolina, transfer portal
Nov 11, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Keenan Nelson Jr. (18) returns a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

A common approach that we’ve seen James Franklin take with the transfer portal is reconnecting with former players. If Penn State football recruited someone out of high school, there’s a good chance they’re going to reach out once the player hits the transfer portal. The latest player to fall within this category is former South Carolina defensive back Keenan Nelson Jr. At one time Nelson Jr. held a crystal ball to land with the Nittany Lions coming out of high school.

SEC DB from PA with Penn State football ties enters transfer portal

Keenan Nelson Jr. was a four-star safety prospect in the 2022 recruiting class. He attended St. Joesph’s Prep School in Philadephia, PA. According to Brian Dohn of 247Sports, Nelson had “Day 2 NFL draft potential” coming out of high school.

The Penn State football team offered Nelson in March of 2020. With the challenges of the pandemic, he was only on campus for two visits in Happy Valley according to 247Sports. He took an unofficial on June 5th, 2021. That was followed that up with an official visit to State College on June 11th, 2021. Nelson held a crystal ball from South Carolina insider JC Shurburtt to land at Penn State.

However, on July 20th, 2021 Nelson made his commitment to South Carolina. He has spent the past two seasons with the Gamecocks. Nelson has appeared in 15 games making 4 starts. He registered 13 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in two years in the SEC. He also returned a punt block for a touchdown last season against Vanderbilt.

On Friday morning he announced on Twitter/X that he had entered the transfer portal with three years of eligibility remaining.

James Franklin reconnecting with former recruits

Penn State is loaded at defensive back heading into 2024. But, after watching the Peach Bowl and the spring game the Nittany Lions could use help at the nickel corner position. That’s where Keenan Nelson Jr. could add a ton of value. He has made four career starts all at the nickel for South Carolina.

James Franklin has reconnected with players such as Julian Fleming, Nolan Rucci, and AJ Harris this offseason in the transfer portal. All three of these players have found a school that provides them an opportunity to grow their football careers. It will be interesting to follow if Coach Franklin uses the same methodology if Penn State pursues Nelson.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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