July 20, 2024

Devy Digest: Freshman Profile Malachi Nelson

4 min read



USC Trojans
Malachi Nelson
6’3″ 190lbs
5* in the composites
High School: Los Alamitos High
Draft Eligible: 2026

Devy Digest: Freshman Profile Malachi Nelson

Who is Malachi Nelson?

Nelson was a four year letterman at Los Alamitos, a high octane High School in Orange County California. Nelson was named the Gatorade California Player of the Year for 2021 and 2022 and depending which recruiting service you look at, was the #1 incoming Quarterback recruit. To add to his accolades, Nelson was an Under Armour All American and Polynesian Bowl All Star. Nelson competed in the Elite 11 and off the field, Nelson graduated early with a 3.7GPA and actually enrolled at USC in the spring of 2022. While watching his tape, he naturally has a feel for the pocket and will maneuver around to keep plays alive. Nelson is more of a scrambler than a runner as a Quarterback, he looks to keep plays alive and use his arm than to take off and run. He’s more of a Patrick Mahomes in that aspect. Nelson does great on off script plays and improvises to allow his receivers time. Nelson has a very good arm and accurate. He completed 67% of his passes as a Senior. Nelson anticipates very well and doesn’t need to see his receiver open before throwing the football. He improvises very well, and has multiple arm motions to get the ball out to his receiver. Nelson is a very fluid athlete. It was reported that Nelson has offseason surgery on his non throwing shoulder and was not 100% during the spring game. Early fall reports have stated that the shoulder is now healed and he is full go at practice.

Pathway to Success

Nelson has been Lincoln Riley’s guy. Nelson was originally committed to Oklahoma when Riley was there and flipped his commitment to USC when Riley landed there. The Riley Quarterback tree is one that we want. Riley is a Quarterback whisperer and turns them into NFL assets. Nelson will take over the reigns next year when Caleb Williams departs for the NFL and it will be his time to take over the offense that will have a full cupboard of weapons as they head to the B1G Ten.


Nelson has put on 10lbs since being at USC, but we’d like to see him put on another 10-15lbs without compromising his athleticism. Like Caleb Williams, Nelson likes to have off script plays and looks to keep plays alive than to live for another down, that could be detrimental if he is careless or trusts his arm and or his receivers too much and turns the ball over. While being accurate and has great ball placement, he did average 1 interception every 30 passes as a Senior in High School and 1 interception every 29 passes as a Junior.

Freshman Outlook

Nelson will sit this year, and might see action in extreme blowouts. USC has a capable backup in Miller Moss who should be the one to go in during blowouts. Perhaps towards the end of the year, we’ll see some action from Nelson, but unlike other positions, him not seeing the field as a Freshman is not a concern.

Devy Value

Nelson is going in early firsts in Supplementals and late first to early second in C2C startups. He is a buy on potential and perceived value. We know he is next in line in the Lincoln Riley system and we know that carries weight into the NFL. Nelson has lively arm, and very good at reading defenses. . In C2C formats he will produce on the CFF side and hold his value for the NFL side.

NFL Outlook

Top 10 pick is well within his range of outcomes, Nelson will have a full set of weapons at all positions for him to distribute and with USC having a lackluster defense, Nelson will be asked to throw the ball, make plays, and showcase his abilities. Nelson should test well enough and if he puts on weight, we won’t have weight concerns that we do at this point.