Malachi Nelson, a five-star quarterback and the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2023 according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, announced his commitment to Lincoln Riley and USC in a Twitter post on Tuesday. Nelson is Riley's first commitment at his new program since abruptly leaving Oklahoma and taking over the Trojans this past Sunday.
If losing Riley to USC wasn't enough of a gut punch for the Oklahoma program and its fans, Nelson's decision to commit to Riley adds even more pain. Nelson was committed to Oklahoma until Sunday, when he decommitted once it was finalized that Riley would be making the stunning move out west.
Nelson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound native of Los Alamitos (California) High School, threw for 2,690 yards, tossed 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a junior. He was 85 of 115 for 1,513 yards, tossed 23 touchdowns and four interceptions as a sophomore in 2020.
Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports, provided this scouting report on Riley's new quarterback.
"Nelson has all the physical tools you could want in a next level signal caller," Biggins wrote. "At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, he has an athletic body with plenty of room to grow pack on good weight. He's a very fluid athlete in everything he does. He has a smooth, effortless release and the ball jumps out of his hand. He has a downfield arm, is accurate to all three levels of the field and can throw with touch and change speeds. He's a mature quarterback and already shows a high football IQ in terms of his decision making and how well he processes the position. He's a plus-athlete for a quarterback as well and shows the ability to extend plays and get out and pick up yards in the running game. He made a big jump this off-season and needs to show he can put it together with the pads on as a sophomore but no quarterback in the class has a higher ceiling right now than Nelson."
Nelson is just the second player to commit to the Trojans in the Class of 2023.