Former 5-Star QB Malachi Nelson Transfers to Boise State From USC

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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesFormer 5-star recruit Malachi Nelson has officially committed to Boise State after leaving USC, making him the highest-rated player in the school’s history (per ESPN’s Pete Thamel).

Pete Thamel @PeteThamelMalachi Nelson commits to Boise State. He’s the former No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2023 and the highest rated player in Boise history.

Nelson was initially considered the No. 5 quarterback prospect in the 2023 recruiting class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He appeared in only one game for the Trojans this season as he sat behind Caleb Williams and Miller Moss on the team’s depth chart, completing one of his three pass attempts.

Head coach Lincoln Riley told reporters on Dec. 18 that it was “difficult” seeing the highly touted signal-caller enter the transfer portal.

“Yeah, that part is difficult,” Riley said, per Sam Gillenwater of “The old school in all of us has all the great memories of the guys that we coach that, maybe, weren’t ready in the beginning and they progressed, got better, and you got to see the end of that. So, yeah, it’s part of it now, you know what I mean? It’s just part of the world of college football at this current time.”

While Nelson’s transfer decision wasn’t readily apparent when he entered the portal, his reported visit to Boise State sparked discussion about the quarterback joining head coach Spencer Danielson’s program (via Thamel).

He’ll have an easier path to earn a starting job as a member of the Broncos, especially after sophomore passer Taylen Green transferred to Arkansas. Nelson will likely battle with Maddux Madsen for the top quarterback spot at Boise State, as Maden appeared in nine games during his 2023 campaign before suffering a season-ending injury against New Mexico in Week 11.

Nelson should help raise the ceiling of a Broncos team that has already amassed 18 wins and two bowl appearances over the past two seasons.


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