football Edit

Oklahoma lands versatile two-sport star James Nesta

James Nesta
James Nesta

Oklahoma is about to start a run of big run of commitments and the first to jump onboard this month is James Nesta. The versatile defender out of Cornelius (N.C.) Hough chose the Sooners over Miami and North Carolina. Nesta, who is also expect to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft, broke down his decision with



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"From the first time meeting coach Chavis and coach Roof I felt a really good connection and I've been able to buy into what they've said from the start," Nesta said. "Since I got on campus there for my official visit, it just felt different. At Oklahoma I really feel like I can be a champion person and I can be a champion on the football field. I feel like they're not just trying to develop you on the football field but also develop you into a winner in life after leaving football. That really meant a lot to me and it meant a lot to my family. That was a really important factor.

"I'm going to play their 'Cheetah' position," he said. "I'm very versatile so they said I could even end up playing inside linebacker as well. My versatility plays really well into their defense. The defense we run at my high school is the exact same defense they run at Oklahoma. It's honestly kind of a perfect situation where I'm going to be able to flow into it a lot easier than a regular person would because I'm already familiar with the scheme that they run.

"Coach Venables has an actual track record for this," said Nesta. "A lot of guys say they can make me into this or that but coach Venables has the receipts for it and he knows how to do it and he knows what it looks like. That was very reassuring for me.

"I would definitely say coach Roof and coach Chavis are the coaches I'm closest with," he said. "My host for my visit was Phil Picciotti and he was a really nice kid. I got to spend some good time with him and get a feel for the program. It's a real family culture and everybody is really close. I already know Hollywood (Daylan Smothers) because he's from Charlotte. I got to talk to him a little bit too. They said the program is being completely flipped around. Every little detail matters to them and the small things are going to turn out to be the most important things in the long run. I truly believe Oklahoma will be a top contender for the National Championship in the coming years.

"We're definitely going to build a powerhouse in the 2024 recruiting class," Nesta said. "There are definitely some silent commits out there that nobody knows about and won't know about for a little bit."

On his baseball future- "As of right now, there is the potential that I do get drafted for baseball but I'm definitely going to play college football," he said. "It would take an extreme amount of money for me to not play college football. An extremely important factor was getting to meet with the baseball coach at Oklahoma. I talked to every school about playing baseball but that was the first time I walked out of the meeting with coaches and really believed that I could play both sports because they broke it down into every small detail on how I would do it and how they did it with Kyler Murray. That was very important to me and I'm super excited about it."


Nesta is a really intriguing prospect who should impact the Oklahoma defense in a variety of ways. He's currently listed as a weakside defensive end in the position rankings but that will change to outside linebacker in the next rankings update. Nesta has the tools to be a great pass rusher but it's his athleticism as an off-the-ball linebacker that should get Oklahoma fans really excited. Nesta can fly around the field and tackles in the open field but he'll also be a major asset in coverage. At 6-foot-5, Nesta has the speed and length to make it hard for running backs and tight ends to give quarterbacks big windows to throw the ball into.

As a baseball prospect, Nesta says he's currently projected as a "mid-round pick" in the MLB Draft. He's a right-handed pitcher who throws a 95mph fastball. Just today, Nesta worked out for more than 10 different MLB teams including the Mets, Dodgers, Tigers, Phillies, Yankees, and White Sox.