It was a weekend to remember for Notre Dame football, dominating Boston College by a 44-0 score on the field, and there were very important recruiting targets on campus from the 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and even 2027 recruiting classes.
Arguably the most impressive athlete of the bunch, Ainsworth (Neb.) High School tight end Carter Nelson made his first visit to South Bend after originally being scheduled to make the trip during the team’s matchup against Clemson a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, that initial trip for the 2024 standout was derailed by a canceled flight, but the Irish staff clearly made up for lost time.
A source close to Nelson gave some insight into the trip as a whole. The family made the 11 and a half hour drive to South Bend, and were far from disappointed.
"Obviously the Notre Dame program doesn’t need any introduction,” the source said. "The prestige, level of football, academics, it’s all there. It was great to really experience it first hand.
"It was an eye opening experience for Carter and the rest of the family,” they continued. "He got a chance to spend a lot of time with Coach (Gerad) Parker. It was great just getting to know him better.”
The conversation centered around Parker, who made quite an initial impression on Nelson and his family. His energy, football IQ and resume really stuck with the Nelsons. It also doesn’t hurt to have a Michael Mayer as proof to prove how much the tight end position means to the Irish program.
"Obviously they use the tight end position as well as anyone,” Irish Breakdown was told. "It’s exciting to think about him potentially being a part of that.”
Those conversations with the coaches were fantastic. Then the game began. Nelson had the chance to really experience a game day, seeing Mayer break yet another record and appreciate the energy that the Notre Dame fans bring.
"We were really pleased to see how energetic and locked in the fans were during the game,” the source stated. "Even with the weather, the cold and the lopsided game, there was still so much energy throughout the game.”
There was obvious initial intrigue with the Notre Dame program when Nelson was initially offered during the Clemson weekend. That intrigue evolved into a true vision following the visit. While Nelson intends to take the recruiting process slowly, it is obvious that Notre Dame made a huge impact on the Nebraska standout this weekend.
He is already a well accomplished player from a recruiting ranking perspective. Nelson is ranked as the No. 109 overall player and No. 5 tight end in the 2024 recruiting class. From every vantage point, Nelson is a high upside athlete who is just starting to understand how good he can be. He will need to gain a substantial amount of weight, and he has the frame to do just that.
For the 9-1 Ainsworth squad, he is the team’s leading rusher with 761 yards and 14 touchdowns on 119 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Nelson is also the team’s leading receiver with 525 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 28 total receptions.
He has done all that while also playing a lot of reps as the team’s quarterback. On the season, he has thrown for 663 yards and 15 touchdowns on 83 attempts. The Junior has also been careful with the football, only throwing three interceptions on the year.
It doesn’t end on the offensive side of the football for Nelson’s impact. Doubling as a dynamic safety for Ainsworth, he hauled in six interceptions and totaled 41 tackles.
Nelson is also the team’s top punter to boot, averaging 39.6 yards per punt.
As if Nelson’s accomplishments on the football field weren’t enough, he is arguably an even more impressive track and field athlete for Ainsworth. The 6-5, 210-pound athlete is an outstanding high jumper, posting a personal best jump of seven feet as a sophomore. Nelson is also a standout sprinter, posting a 11.05 second 100 meter time at his size.
He also has a personal best jump of 13’8” in the pole vault and has thrown the discus 170 feet. Nelson is one of those kids who is seemingly good at everything he tries.
Nelson is also a standout basketball player on the hardwood. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 3.4 blocks per game during the season. His highlight tape is littered with gravity defying dunks and athletic feats. There appears to be no limits to his athletic upside.
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