Charles Nelson will assume starting in the slot at wide receiver for Oregon this season. One of the most versatile athletes in the country will focus his attention on mainly catching passes in 2016-17.
We are just 23 days away from Oregon’s first game against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 2 at Autzen Stadium.
If you missed any of my 11-part series projecting the defense, you can find it at ATQ. Now, it’s time for the offensive starter projections for Willie Taggart’s 2017-18 team.
WILLIE TAGGART’S 11
QUARTERBACK - Justin Herbert (Tuesday)
RUNNING BACK - Royce Freeman (Wednesday)
STARTING WIDE RECEIVER, CHARLES NELSON
The 5-foot-8 senior is one of the most explosive players you will witness in college football. No matter the position, Nelson will emerge as a star. Following a freshman season that was highlighted by a Pac-12 2nd Team spot, Nelson adjuste
In 2015, Nelson switched to safety after starting the first three games at wide receiver. He concluded the final eight games as a starting defensive back, earning himself some hardware along the way.
As a starting safety, Nelson registered 46 total tackles including 34 solo wrap-ups. He accounted for four pass deflections, two interceptions and a tackle for loss.
The Floridian was voted by the coaches as a 1st Team All-Pac-12 member. Additionally, Nelson was listed on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List which is awarded to the nation's most versatile player.
As a receiver, Nelson has 92 career catches for 1,151 receiving yards. He has amassed 15 total touchdowns from scrimmage, including 13 through the air. The senior has 21 career carries for 253 rushing yards (12.0 YPC) and two scores.
On special teams, Nelson is Oregon’s career leader in kickoff return yards (2,173), as he surpassed De’Anthony Thomas last season. Nelson finished third in the land in kickoff return yards (879), averaging nearly 26 yards per return.
“Charles is a really great guy,” said quarterback Justin Herbert of his roommate. “I think it’s great we’re getting an opportunity to spend time with each other. One thing is he’s not a great 2K player. We play a lot of 2K and he’s okay, but I’m taking it to him right now.”
In the season opener vs UC Davis in 2016, he exhibited his versatility amid a career performance. Nelson accumulated 288 all-purpose yards on the day, including kick return yards (153), punt return yards (98), and receiving yardage (31). No. 6 also converted two two-point conversions in the victory.
THE FINAL VERDICT
One of the most versatile players in college football history will end his Duck career in style. Charles Nelson will lead Oregon in receiving with 91 catches for 1,244 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. Not to mention, he will return a kick and a punt for a score; 10 TD’s in total. Nelson will be named one of the best wide receivers in the country, alongside securing a 1st Team spot for the Pac-12 Conference. It will elevate his draft stock, drawing comparisons to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. Nelson’s numbers will compare favorably to John Ross and his gaudy 2016 season.
Part 4 of Willie Taggart’s Starting 11 series will continue on Friday.