June 13, 2024

Devy Dilemma: Malachi Nelson – Former 5-Star Recruit Surprises the Devy World and Transfers from USC to Boise State

4 min read

Devy Dilemma: Malachi Nelson – Former 5-Star Recruit Transfers from USC to Boise State


Malachi Nelson, one of the top quarterbacks and overall players in the transfer portal, committed to Boise State.


With the possibility of redshirting, Nelson just finished his first collegiate season at USC. After only seeing mop-up duty time in Southern Cal’s opening week victory, he chose to enter the transfer portal. In On3’s Portal Rankings, Nelson was the No. 6 QB and the No. 16 available transfer overall this offseason.

This is a major addition for Boise State considering the cache Nelson has and the player he can potentially be. The question is how he develops with the Broncos. Former starting quarterback Taylen Green had a very inconsistent tenure with Boise State and has transferred to Arkansas this offseason. 

The Boise State Broncos are moving into a new era under new head coach Spencer Danielson. Boise State fired former head coach Andy Avalos late in the season and Danielson was named interim head coach. He then became the first interim head coach to lead his team to a conference championship in FBS history. 

After the season, the Broncos removed Danielson’s interim label and named him their full-time head coach.

Who is Malachi Nelson?

Nelson played high school football at Los Alamitos High School where he was a five-star prospect and the number 11 overall recruit in the 2023 recruiting cycle according to the On3 Industry Ranking. He finished as the number five overall QB in the class and the number two player out of the state of California, behind Nico Iamaleava.

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In the loaded 2023 QB recruiting class, Nelson was considered one of the top quarterbacks. In the On3 rankings, he finished as the fifth-ranked QB behind Nico Iamaleava, Arch Manning, Jackson Arnold, and Dante Moore. However, ESPN had him ranked as the number one QB in the class.

He initially committed to Oklahoma but flipped to USC after Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for Southern Cal.

Nelson only played in one game while at USC, going 1-3 for 0 yards in a Trojan 56-28 victory over San Jose State.

During devy draft season in 2023, Nelson was a hot commodity.  In devy supplemental drafts, he was likely a first-round pick.




Malachi Nelson has a strong pedigree as a former 5-star recruit, so there is something there.  As a recruit, Nelson was compared to Jordan Love by 247Sports analyst Gabe Brooks.

Tall, lean, and long-armed with slender natural build but frame to add some mass. Fluid mover in general, including arm motion and lower-body mechanics. Range of motion in movement patterns fosters excellent off-platform passing ability and general playmaking acumen. Alters arm angles and delivers with accuracy. Vertical arm strength, intermediate velocity, and touch to all fields speak to elite arm talent. Perhaps the most natural thrower in an excellent 2023 QB group.

Flashes the functional athleticism to extend plays outside the pocket, where finding a receiver is almost always the priority over tucking and running. Still, athletic enough to hurt defenses with legs on occasion. Sees the field well and processes naturally. Production has risen each of first three years in high school. INT rate is on the higher end of the spectrum for Top247 quarterbacks — one every 30.6 throws as a junior, one every 29.9 in freshman through junior seasons.

Adding mass and strength will help withstand physical demands of high-major ball. Very likely one of the nation’s top quarterbacks — and overall prospects regardless of position — in the 2023 class. Projects as an impact starter at the high-major level with long-term early-round NFL Draft potential.

As you can see, there was a reason he was a highly coveted quarterback coming out of high school.  He was expected to be the next in line to superstar Caleb Williams, who is now on his way to the NFL.  With Nelson likely being a first-round pick in 2023 devy supplemental drafts, he has high enough value to target as a buy-low candidate.




Nelson transferring down to the G5 level has to be concerning in terms of being a devy asset. High-end devy assets rarely transfer down from a college football powerhouse to a G5 school in search of playing time. Boise State is not known for putting QBs into the NFL, and newly minted Head Coach Spencer Danielson is not an offensive-minded coach, as he is a former LB coach.  Name value alone could get you decent value in return for Nelson if you choose to sell.



I am of the mindset to sell Malachi Nelson as a devy asset.  The concerns about him moving down are substantial, especially when you consider all of the QBs who were in his recruiting class.  He now runs the risk of falling well behind with his development and strength of competition.  If I can sell him based on his name value alone, I will take full advantage.



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