"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
Previously: Introducing Shaq Wiggins
Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek CB Shaq Wiggins is a member of both the ESPNU 150 Watch List and the Early 247 for the class of 2013. He has been high on Michigan throughout the early stages of the recruiting process after an outstanding performance at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Southfield put him on the radar of several Midwest schools. Wiggins holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Tennesee, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Ball State, Ohio, and Toledo, and he was in Michigan Stadium a couple weeks ago to take in the Ohio State game. I caught up with Shaq over the weekend to get the latest on his status:
ACE: How's everything going in terms of your recruitment? How many offers are you sitting on right now?
SHAQ: Still sitting on eight. A couple schools came to see me, and for the most part they want me to come to their junior days and stuff like that. I'm going to sit down and pick out some of the schools that I'm going to consider and go to their junior days.
ACE: Are there any schools that are standing out for you right now?
SHAQ: I would probably say Tennessee right now.
ACE: You had the chance to come up and visit Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game. What were your impressions of Michigan coming out of that?
SHAQ: Well, right off the bat, I mean the crowd—114,000 fans—that was pretty amazing, I never saw that before. I know Ohio State and Michigan are good rivals. They executed well against Ohio State, the play was great, the environment was great—it just makes you think more and more about being a Michigan Wolverine.
ACE: Did you get the chance to talk to the coaches while you were up on your visit? What have they had to say about your recruitment?
SHAQ: I talked to Coach Montgomery most of the time, and I talked to Coach Mallory for a little bit. They were telling me to keep focusing—this was while the season was going on—keep focusing on my style of play and just playing hard for my team and they would come to see me in the next two weeks when they come and recruit the South.
ACE: What's the status of your Michigan offer? Depending on where you look, it says you may have one or you may not.
SHAQ: Yeah, I don't know why—someone talked to me the other day [and said that] on ESPN the check was off my Michigan offer or something like that. I know I have a Michigan offer, so I don't know what the rumors are or anything like that, but I can't worry about that.
ACE: Did visiting Michigan change how you look at the school and how they fit in with the teams you're looking at right now?
SHAQ: Yeah, it definitely gives a little spark in my eye. Just looking at the freshman, Blake Countess, playing early, and the depth chart looks pretty good. So, I mean, Michigan I would say is a priority.
ACE: Looking at your season, you guys went through the regular season undefeated and got into the third round of the playoffs. How'd you feel about your team's performance this year and your performance individually?
SHAQ: My team's performance, I thought it was as good as it could get. In the last game we didn't play as well as we should have, but as a team throughout the whole season, the season was great. We played an undefeated regular season and won the regional championship, so some of the goals we set we accomplished them, and obviously the goal we set to win the state championship didn't go as planned. All we can do is come in harder next year. My season individually, you know, I never thought I would have nine interceptions in one season. I guess from all the hard work in the summertime, that's what I got.
ACE: Nine picks is obviously a very impressive number. How'd you feel you improved over the season, and what are you still working on for the next level?
SHAQ: I try and get better at every aspect of the game, especially at cornerback, I try to work at everything. But the most important thing that I want to work on is my size, a lot of people talk about my size—not that I really take offense to that, it's true, I have to get bigger, stronger for the next level in order to contribute to my team. I would probably say that's one of the main focuses of my game. Once I get a little stronger and bigger I think my game will be kind of complete and good and I'm just hoping to get better.
ACE: Now that your season is over, what are you looking at in terms of possible junior days and summer visits?
SHAQ: Yeah—hopefully Michigan again. I know I'm taking a trip to Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and maybe one more school.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline about when you'd like to wrap up your recruitment?
SHAQ: I'm hoping summertime of 2012, going into my senior season, but I'm not trying to rush anything. I would like to get my recruitment over with by summer so I can just focus straight on my season.
Well, the season is over, as is the championship game. Ohio didn't make it, but is in a bowl. I'm wondering when the NCAA sancations report on Ohio will arrive.
At this point, I'm cynically assuming nothing much will happen. Otherwise, would Urban have taken the job? All the Ohio homers who were whining about how everyone had it in for them can now shut up. The focus has effectively gone elsewhere than Columbus.
In a way, it would be nice if Ohio was sanctioned from bowls for a year or two (pushing Dunn fully into the Michigan fold, and giving him cover in Ohio for changing where he goes.)
The biggest advantage I can see for Michigan would be more significant scholarship reductions. Five over three years is nothing. It'd be nice to see them receive at least what USC got. A loss of 3 - 5 annually for 3 years would cause some pain.
Regardless, it has been a while since I've heard anything. If the NCAA doesn't report this week, I could see them postponing all the way after the MNC game.
The Hokies have only sold 9337 of their 17500 Sugar Bowl ticket allotment and are now asking(begging) their fans to buy proxy tickets for $120 each that will then be donated to New Orleans area charities and military personnel.
BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced today that it has sold 9,337 of its 17,500 tickets to the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Over the years, Virginia Tech has earned the reputation of being a football program that enjoys a strong following to bowl games. In order to maintain that recognition, the Athletics Department is asking Hokie fans that cannot make this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl to consider purchasing proxy tickets. Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver, head football coach Frank Beamer, and the entire football coaching staff, will each be purchasing a pair of proxy tickets in order to support this initiative.
All proxy tickets will be distributed to military and charitable organizations in the greater New Orleans area. To order your proxy tickets, please log on towww.hokietickets.com or call the Athletics Ticket Office at (540) 231-6731 or 1-800 VA TECH4 (828-3244).
For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football)
HT- Stewart Mandel via Sam Webb's twitter.
Just wanted to let the board know that our old friend (and former MGBlog recruiting ninja) Tom VH is holding a live chat over on ESPN.
The Daily came out this morning with a long-form feature giving Mike Milano's perspective on the fight between him and Steve Kampfer that landed the Kampfer in the hospital and got Milano booted off the football team.
Hadn't heard much about this since Kampfer graduated, and it's well worth the read. Kudos to the Daily for digging to get Milano.
It was fascinating to learn last week that Denard had a staph infection early in the season. The staff did a great job of keeping this information private. I don't recall even a hint of this in any media report on the nature of his bandages. Hoke commented that Denard had a "boo-boo," which I interpreted as a minor scrape or bruise or abrasion.
Even more interesting is that Kovacs didn't even know Denard had a staph infection. Martin knew that much, but not that Denard was hospitalized. This information apparently wasn't shared widely on the team!
This reflects great unity among the football staff, in the athletic administration, and at UofM hospitals. They worked together to keep this information private, and not to leak it to anyone who didn't need to know (including the team!!!)
While we as fans want to know every tidbit possible, I completely support and applaud this change in privacy. It was no one's business what was happening with Denard. It was a strategic advantage for other teams NOT to know that he was close to not playing. Worse, if Sparty had known, they probably would have targeted Denard's arm for injury. I respect Hoke for maintaining privacy and confidentiality where appropriate.
On the other hand, I absolutely love the transparency about the team, and the access to information. For me, this is best reflected by the OC & DC pressers weekly during the season. I find what Borges & Mattison have to say fascinating, and actually more interesting than Hoke's press conferences. These guys are actually helping teach me more about football.
I think that Hoke has a decent relationship with the press and the public. He also has a great understanding of what should be kept quiet, and what can be public. However, this isn't only Hoke.
The lack of any leaks speak to a much greater unity among the athletic administration, the football coaching staff, and the team itself. Sadly, I cynically believe that someone would have leaked this kind of info (about Denard) under the prior coaching staff. Regardless, I am glad that the current climate promotes a healthy culture of silence where needed, and an openness to sharing more information, where appropriate.