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Freshman Corey Nelson learning under Travis Lewis

Lewis says Nelson will "be better than I was."
By Mike Baldwin Modified: October 11, 2010 at 8:58 am •  Published: October 10, 2010

Coach Bob Stoops said the 2010 class could be the best he's had at Oklahoma.

For all the buzz surrounding Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson, Trey Millard, Aaron Colvin and running back Roy Finch, another freshman, linebacker Corey Nelson, might end up being the highest NFL draft pick.

The reason Nelson hasn't received much fanfare is he's playing behind All-America candidate Travis Lewis.

"Corey Nelson. You better look out for that guy," Lewis said. "I'm looking for great things out of him. He's going to be better than I was."

That's quite an endorsement.

Lewis has led OU in tackles back-to-back seasons, including 144 as a redshirt freshman, surpassing Brian Bosworth's freshman school record. Lewis once again leads the Sooners in tackles this season.

And Nelson will be even better?

Several times, Stoops has mentioned Nelson when asked about the 2010 class.

"Corey Nelson is a really good player," Stoops said during last week's press conference. "You watch him on kickoffs, he's fantastic."

A five-star recruit and a Parade All-American, Nelson was selected Associated Press Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year in Texas.

This past summer, defensive coordinator Brent Venables gave Nelson the option of playing any of the three linebacker positions. The 6-foot-1, 210 pound Dallas Skyline product chose weakside linebacker.

"He chose — and he was right — a position we had a returning, potential All-American as opposed to a position we lost a starter," Venables said. "He said that's where he felt more comfortable. And I agree. It's a position he can use his instincts and play behind the ball more."

Nelson primarily has played on special teams but has played a handful of snaps on defense. Unlike redshirt freshman middle linebacker Tom Wort, Nelson has the luxury from learning from a veteran.

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Nelson almost went to A&M

Linebacker Corey Nelson was a Texas A&M commitment for seven months. The day before national signing day he wore an A&M hat to Dallas Skyline High School.

In a surprising late switch, Nelson signed with Oklahoma.

Nelson said the deciding factor was the Aggies didn't hire their linebackers coach until the week after signing day.

"They weren't sure what type of defense they were going to run," Nelson said. "I talked to my family and some of my peers I look up to and asked them what was best for my future. After listening to them I decided OU was better for me."

Despite his commitment to A&M, Nelson said the Sooners were always in the back of his mind.

"That's fair to say," Nelson said. "January through February, I wondered if maybe Oklahoma was best for me, seeing what was happening at A&M. I finally decided I needed to be mature about my decision and do what's best for me."


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