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Staying home: Nelson commits to DWU football team

Mitchell's Kiel Nelson (3) fires a pass to teammate Tate Larson (88) during a game on Sept. 2, 2017 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

While he’s preparing for his upcoming senior season, Kiel Nelson made a decision about his future on Wednesday.

The Mitchell High School senior-to-be quarterback committed to play football at Dakota Wesleyan University, putting an end to his recruitment before the season even started.

He received an offer from DWU and coach Ross Cimpl in late April. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Nelson committed during DWU’s prospect camp on Wednesday.

“I have always kind of known that’s where I wanted to end up,” Nelson told The Daily Republic. “Ross and I, he’s built a connection with me really early on basically when I started high school and we’ve just like always talked back and forth a lot.”

Nelson, who never received any other offers, was in communication with the University of North Dakota during the track and field season. Nelson, however, was always set on playing for the hometown Tigers.  

“It’s more of like a family atmosphere and that’s kind of what I was looking for,” Nelson said. “I knew that DWU is where I wanted to be and I just kind of made my decision now.”

When Nelson arrives on campus in fall of 2019, projected starter Shaye Slaughter will be a senior. There are currently three other quarterbacks on the roster: sophomore Zachary Lester, freshman Alex Pohlen and freshman Danny Strande.

Nelson said the coaching staff never discussed expectations or playing time going into his freshman season.  

“We never really talked about that going into my freshman year,” Nelson said. “But hopefully there’s kind of a battle, I guess, you could say to see who could work into a spot.”

Now, Nelson will shift his attention to his upcoming senior season. Nelson and the rest of the Kernels have conducted Monday night football practices, while also lifting weights every morning. He’s also been playing basketball this summer as the Kernels participate in the Sanford Pentagon League in Sioux Falls once a week.

“This is kind of time where we are wrapping up our workouts,” Nelson said. “We have got two or three weeks left of that and then it’s game-time basically.”

The Kernels, who return a host of upperclassmen, will start football practice on Aug. 9.

“This has been my group ever since I started playing,” he said. “So it’s kind of like our time to shine.”