After redshirting his first year due to a torn ACL, Patrick Nelson had an impressive redshirt freshman season playing in all 12 games and starting in six. He was named to the ESPN and Big Ten Network All-Freshman Team, and Illini fans had high hopes for his future with the team.
During this past season, the Illini gained two other very talented safeties Bennett Williams and Stanley Green that took some of his playing time. Nevertheless, he still played in 10 games, started in eight games and was out with an injury in only two games. With less playing time, Nelson still managed to get the third most tackles and forced fumbles for the Fighting Illini.
He is a hard hitter and a great help in the run game. His pass coverage was good, but his superior tackling ability kept him on the field. His playing style and role are similar to New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung. Both players were used as an extra body in the box to stop the run but still have the ability to cover pass plays.
Unfortunately for the Fighting Illini, Nelson was one of several who has decided to transfer away from the program at the conclusion of this past season.
Nelson has yet to announce where he will play next.