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Gophers Hockey: Jaxon Nelson commits to Minnesota

One of the top 2000-born players in the country, Nelson finished his freshman season at Luverne HS (MN) with 44 goals in 28 games.

Matt Christians/SB Nation College Hockey

Minnesota reportedly is joining the ever-growing number of teams with a commit born in the year 2000.

Luverne freshman Jaxon Nelson has committed to the Gophers, according to his high school team.

Nelson is among the top group of 2000 born players in the country. He's already accomplished a lot in his young career.

At 6'1" and growing, his game already has a lot of tools for a high school freshman. Nelson led Luverne, a town in the southwest part of Minnesota, with 44 goals (he also had 47 assists in 28 games) a year after putting up 32 and helping lead the team's first-ever trip to the Class A state tournament as an eighth grader.

From SB Nation College Hockey's Chris Dilks this past August:

Jaxon Nelson, '00, Luverne HS-Nelson was the only Y2K birthdate here. He's huge and very strong for his age, so he held his own, though sometimes struggled with the pace of play. In the Bantam Elite League, it's pretty clear that Nelson and Minnetonka's K'Andre Miller will battle it out for best 2000 birthdate in the state. Comparing the two, Nelson has filled out physically a little bit more and is probably the better player right now, but Miller's soft hands allow him to play with a finesse dimension to his game as well, which might give him more upside for the future. Both are very talented for their age and should be fun to watch develop.

There's plenty of time before he comes to campus. Without accelerating, he is looking at a 2018 start date in college. Nelson will have to test himself in his development against much tougher competition between now and then - how he performs against top players outside SW MN is one of his biggest question marks - and continue to grow on and off the ice. He's good on his skates regardless of size, which he also isn't afraid to use against older players.

In a way, Nelson brings up memories of another early Gopher commit from the southern part of the state that was dominating as a freshman with his size and reach in Seth Ambroz. Nelson is a better skater than Ambroz, who went from a top-5 player in his age group to 5th round pick after three years in the USHL to having a serviceable college career. That's just one of the gambles on picking a player at a young age with players still developing and filling out at different rates.

Nelson's commitment comes a couple weeks before the WHL Bantam Draft in which he is eligible.


Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --