Did Malachi Nelson just take significant steps in leaving USC football for Texas A&M?

Caleb Williams, USC Football, USC Trojans
Caleb Williams, USC Football, USC Trojans / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Malachi Nelson, USC football's five-star 2023 QB recruit (all recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports), made headlines recently by going on an unofficial visit to Texas A&M. It was a confusing move.

On one hand nobody wants to see the No. 1 player in the entire state of California, who's committed to them, go on a surprise unofficial visit anywhere. On the other, it's important to remember that he's still a college football recruit, and it makes sense for him to take advantage of that for as long as he can.

Free trips around the country are nice. Meeting other players is always nice. Making connections is nice. Being told how good one is at football is nice. It still, though, hurts to see him wearing opposing program's colors, and his visit photos did make the rounds on social media on Saturday:

USC football fans should not be any more worried than they already were about Malachi Nelson.

Just because Malachi Nelson went through with the trip and photos were posted means nothing more than what it already did. For instance, an article by Matt Galatzan of Sports Illustrated's Texas A&M publication was released, titled "USC QB Commit Malachi Nelson Has 'Real Interest' in Texas A&M."

When doing a deeper dive of what this author found, though, it's easy to see that these Nelson claims are overreactions. Here's the quote that he used from 247Sports Recruiting Expert Steve Wiltfong:

"Talked to some people that spent some time with Malachi...Purely from a Texas A&M angle, I think that people think it’s going to be hard for Texas A&M to flip Malachi Nelson from USC and his ties to Lincoln Riley and his love for that offense and certainly his ties to the area and helping USC build this class. But I think that they believe that the interest in A&M is real."

Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports

So, yes, Wiltfong did say that people believe that Nelson's "interest in A&M is real," but it was after he went on and on about how "people think it's going to be hard for Texas A&M to flip Malachi Nelson from USC."

This isn't to criticize Galatzan at all. Galatzan did not fabricate anything--this is just to point out how things can naturally cause readers to overreact. So, while people do seem to believe that Nelson has "real" interest in A&M, it's nothing new. He went on a visit there--he obviously had interest.

Was it enough interest to flip, however? Well, that's unlikely, even according to the one who reported the "real" interest. Remember, Nelson has already flipped from OU to USC after Riley made the trip westward. He clearly wants to play for Riley very badly. While A&M is an NIL GIANT, Nelson has followed Riley in each of his commitments.

While it's fair to acknowledge that Nelson has interest in a near blueblood that has a dominant NIL collective, it's also worth acknowledging that Nelson evidently takes his relationship with Riley very seriously, and is still committed to the Trojans.

Next. Ranking Caleb Williams among Pac-12 QBs. dark

It's important not to overreact to aspects of this that simply aren't as notable as some may want to believe.