Joe Nelson, a linebacker who led Tabb High this past season with 62 tackles, said Wednesday that he has committed to play college football at Virginia Military Institute.

Nelson, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior, said that he will receive a partial scholarship to play for the Keydets. He said that VMI recruited him as a defensive lineman, which suits him just fine.

"I think playing on the defensive line will fit my body-type as I get bigger in college," Nelson said. "I'm definitely excited about playing there.

"My final choices came down to VMI and Campbell. Now I can stop worrying about it."

Nelson is the second district player to commit to play on the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) level in the past two days. Former Bruton star Lorenzo Taliaferro, who's played fullback the past two seasons at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., committed on Tuesday to Coastal Carolina.

Grafton end Dylan Stallings committed to James Madison prior to the season and was poised to sign with the Dukes on Wednesday. Lafayette wide receiver Thomas Smith signed on Wednesday with Virginia Tech, making it four Bay Rivers players heading to Division I - a large haul for the district by recent standards.

Nelson said he is considering a political science major, but is not quite sure yet. He said he will consider whether to pursue a military career during his time in Lexington.

"I really like that you have job security (in the military) if you graduate there, and that you have the choice whether or not to go into the military," he said. "And I like that the coaches are enthused about me playing there.

"It's a great opportunity."

Tabb coach Matt Lawson said, "VMI is a great school academically, and the network he'll have after graduating is great, too. Sparky Woods and Greg Harris did a great job recruiting him.

"Greg is a former Tabb player and a really nice guy. I think playing on the line will be good for Joe in college, because he can use his quickness there."