Carroll senior offensive lineman Derrick Nelson committed to Rutgers on Monday evening, and, in doing so, added to the growing reputation of the Lions’ program.

“In a really short amount of time, we’re putting guys at major programs,” Carroll Coach Rick Houchens said. “It says something about how far we’ve come.”

Nelson, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, projects as a guard, Houchens said, thanks to his quickness. Nelson also had offers from Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Kansas State, among others.

“His strength is his athleticism,” Houchens said. “He runs extremely well for a 280-pound guy.”

Combined with senior defensive end E.J. Norris’s commitment last month to Connecticut, Carroll now has two players headed to BCS conference schools, and more potentially joining them. Houchens said senior wide receiver Jarid Brown already has an offer from Temple and seven of his juniors have serious interest and could receive formal offers on the first day of classes, the day when they are first eligible.

Then, there’s sophomore running back Jonathan Haden, who might be getting more attention now than some elite seniors.

It’s a stark change for Carroll, which has struggled for the better part of the past decade in the highly competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. The Lions, though, went 6-4 last year, their first winning record in more than a decade.