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Calling barrage AFTER the verbal commit

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Calling barrage AFTER the verbal commit

Interesting article. We have been talking about QB Billy Lowe and what he will face this coming month.

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Wilson won't go back on his word

After committing to play for Georgia, the Mainland standout says he won't change his mind.

Buddy Collings | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 1, 2006


DAYTONA BEACH – In college football, the word "no" from a high-school standout doesn't always mean no more recruiting.

College coaches are forged in an arena where only losers surrender, and they rarely are willing to give up the chase. They'll look the other way when prospects orally commit to a rival school, then continue to flirt with text messages, phone calls and visits to practices.

It's a game that spawns its own vernacular as some players pledge their allegiance to schools with one hand on their heart but fingers crossed behind their back. They commit, de-commit and recommit.

Tony Wilson, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound Mainland speedster who chose Georgia during the summer, has continued to be pursued by some of the Bulldogs' fiercest rivals. But he made a phone call three weeks ago to assure Georgia Coach Mark Richt that he will not reverse field.

"I had been hearing that Coach Richt wasn't really sure what I was thinking," Wilson said. "I wanted him to know he didn't have to pull his hair out over me. I bleed red and black right now. That was my word."

Wilson is scheduled to spend the weekend of Jan. 13 on Georgia's campus in Athens and has said that will be his first and final official visit. National Signing Day is Feb. 1.

Prospects are allowed up to five college visits. Most subscribe to the theory that it doesn't hurt to be treated like a big man on campus at least a couple of times. Not Wilson.

"If I take another visit, coaches at Georgia won't have trust in me like I want them to have," he said. "I called Florida and Florida State after I talked to Coach Richt and told them I'm only going to take one official [visit]."

Wilson did keep his door cracked open for a while after he publicly announced his commitment to Georgia on Aug. 1, the first day of high-school practice.

"That was a firm commitment, but people kept talking to me and I looked around a little bit," he said.

He said several schools, including UF, FSU and Georgia Tech, actively recruited him during a senior season in which he won area player-of-the-year awards on offense and defense.

"UF came in on me late, and I guess they didn't feel like they really got a chance to recruit me last spring," Wilson said. "I understand them staying on me."

Wilson said FSU initially showed only lukewarm interest and questioned the legitimacy of his speed – even though he won a state 200-meter track championship last spring. Until, that is, he clocked a hand-timed 4.33 seconds for 40 yards at the Seminoles' summer camp.

"They offered me right there, and I told them at the time I would probably be willing to take other visits," he said.

But Wilson said he changed his mind on keeping his options open.

"I didn't want to go through all that, and I didn't want Georgia to have to go through all that with me," he said. "It's a Christian coaching staff, and I loved the atmosphere at their spring game. It seems like a school that will make you excited to wear that red and black. I'm ready to be there."

Buddy Collings can be reached at [email protected]
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