When talking about the best players in college football you’re likely to hear a lot of big names brought up in the conversation. Guys like Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, and Bryce Love routinely amaze with their incredible playmaking ability. However, the best player in the country could be a guy who will never touch the ball.
Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson might be the best in college football. Not just the best offensive lineman, but the best overall player in the nation. His absolute dominance is a big part of the Fighting Irish’s rise to playoff contention this year, although it was crushed in this weekend’s loss to Miami. Expect his stock to continue to skyrocket as the season goes on and we approach the NFL Draft. Here’s why…
Nelson has great physical tools to work with. His 6’5”/325 lb frame makes him more than big enough to play in the NFL. And he plays up to his size and then some. Nelson is very strong and a natural fit for a power blocking system. Frankly, this man is built like a boulder. Defenders will have a very difficult time trying to go through him at the next level.
RELATED: Quenton Nelson Scouting Report
More than just big and strong, Nelson moves very well. He is very fluid for his size and has no problem getting out into space when asked to pull. He also moves well side to side. This makes pass protection and scooping to defensive lineman who aren’t lined up directly over him no problem. This combination of size, strength and mobility are very rare and make him a perfect fit for every offense.
With great physical gifts, Nelson also plays with great technique. Really he does everything well. He plays with good leverage, positions himself well to seal defenders off, and has a great mental approach to the game. However, there are two specific areas that really stood out to me that make him a rare prospect.
If you valued prime Mike Iupati, Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson is your guy. He's a fridge with legs. pic.twitter.com/4fHULtR1RH
— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) November 6, 2017
The first is his ability to absorb contact. Nelson’s quickness off the snap and raw power make it nearly impossible to put him on his heels. Running into him is like running into a brick wall. Actually, defenders would probably have a lot more success going up against the wall. It would take elite NFL strength or quickness to beat him with any type of consistency.
The second thing that truly wows me with Nelson is his hand usage. He extends his arms well in pass protection, keeping defenders out of his chest and controlling them. When he squares defenders up as a run blocker his hands are like vice grips and is able to keep them engaged for an extended period of time. Bottom line, if Nelson gets his hands on a defender, they’re basically done for that play.
Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson is one of the top 5 players in the country. Physical, smart, agile, long.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 6, 2017
He might never make the highlight reel or electrify the crowd with flashy plays, but Nelson is an absolute star. His freakish natural talent and polished technique make him all but perfect as a prospect. Even as a guard, a position that isn’t valued as much as most others in the NFL, this guy will be an early first round pick come draft day. So the next time you talk about the best players in college football don’t you dare forget about this monster of a man because he’s as good as it gets.