national champs baby
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.
Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek cornerback Shaquille (Shaq) Wiggins is a quickly-rising prospect in the class of 2013, earning ESPNU 150 Watch List and Future Top247 honors. He has a high interest in Michigan, and even had a visit planned for the Notre Dame game that unfortunately fell through, though as you'll see, that had no impact on his desire to come to Ann Arbor.
After an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this past summer, he earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines ($, info in header) to go along with offers from Ohio State, Cincinnati, Ball State, Ohio, and Toledo. Wiggins has already taken visits to Auburn and Florida this season, and also has interest from Clemson, Georgia, Illinois, and Mississippi State, among others. I caught up to Wiggins on the phone after his practice today to talk about his recruitment:
ACE: First of all, you've got an offer from Michigan. Are they an early favorite in your recruitment, and what other teams are recruiting you right now?
SHAQ: There's a lot of schools, including Indiana, Miami, LSU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee, Oklahoma - there's a few I could name.
ACE: Do you have an early favorites list? Where does Michigan stand with those schools?
SHAQ: Once my other offers stop coming in, I'll probably end up making a top ten or a favorites list then. But yeah, Michigan is one of my favorite teams.
ACE: I know you tried to come up for the Notre Dame game and that didn't end up working out, but have you had a chance to watch the Wolverines at all this season?
SHAQ: Yes, I watched the Notre Dame game, and I liked the way they played defense. I'm 100% sure I'm coming to the game, I think it's November 26th, when they play Ohio State. [Ed-Ace: He nailed the date off the top of his head after a football practice. Impressive.]
ACE: Who have you been in contact with on the coaching staff at Michigan?
SHAQ: Coach Mallory.
ACE: Have you been talking to any of the recruits who are currently committed?
SHAQ: Yeah, I talk to T-Rich [Terry Richardson] now and then. He congratulated me on making the ESPN Watch List, the top 150 watch list. That's about the only Michigan recruit I've talked to.
ACE: Focusing on your high school season, your team is 3-0 right now. What are your stats so far, and what are your goals for this season?
SHAQ: Well I'm trying to get at least eight [more interceptions] so I can get 13 picks. Right now I have five picks this season after the third game.
ACE: I know it's early on in the process, but do you have any idea about a timeline for your recruitment?
SHAQ: I would probably want to commit to a school during my senior [season] so I can get the recruiting process over with.
ACE: For people who may not be familiar with your game, how would you describe how you play on the field?
SHAQ: I would say I'm quick, with good man coverage, and I'm very physical at the line.
ACE: Are there any areas where you're looking to improve right now to get ready for the next level?
SHAQ: Yes. My overall cornerback coverage and just my overall technique, staying with the receiver and turning my hips.
Recruiting has slowed down now that camp has started and the season is approaching. With a limited number of spots left you would expect that anyway. Here's a look at what happened this week and what might be happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH, or email me with any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'3", 240 lbs.
Poggi is a 2013 lineman who is already blowing up with offers. Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee are among his bigger names to offer already. He made his way in to Ann Arbor this past week and told me about how that went.
I visited there [Monday], and really enjoyed it. I hung out with the coaches and talked to them about what position I'd be playing there. They want me to work as a five tech [DE] which is what I play now.
The visit gave Poggi a chance to sit down and talk face to face with the Michigan coaches.
I talked to Coach Mattison, he's great, he coached one of the players from my high school at Notre Dame and my dad has known him for awhile. Coach Hoke told me that they really care about the defensive line there, and I thought Coach Montgomery was really impressive. Coach Montgomery is a great guy, he knows what he's talking about.
The timing of this visit was good for Michigan because he's already been out to a few other schools and plans to really focus on his season.
I've taken a few visits down south and decided to go to Ann Arbor before camp starts for us. They've always been interesting to me, their tradition, and I hear Coach Hoke is doing a lot of good things. It was my first time up there so it was good. I would say Michigan is up there, I really like the people down there and the education they have.
Despite the fact that he hasn't started his junior season yet Poggi has somewhat of an idea of when he'd like to decide.
I would rather not prolong my commitment. I don't know the exact date, but I'd like to take a couple official visits. If I know before I can take visits then I would just commit, I don't really have to take the officials.
Poggi is already a huge prospect for the 2013 class, and Michigan has helped themselves tremendously by making an early impression.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Gedeon is another 2013 prospect that recently made it up to Ann Arbor. He also holds a Michigan offer and will be a big part of Michigan's recruiting plans for the 2013 class.
I went to Michigan's camp and Coach Mattison had mentioned that they were having a BBQ. My parents and I went to the BBQ and it went great. That was my first time visiting besides the camps. I've camped at Ohio State, Penn State, and Northwestern too. I definitely want to make it to Penn State, Ohio State, Northwestern, and probably Tennessee for a visit too.
Both the BBQ and Michigan's camp made a lasting impression on Gedeon.
Michigan was my first camp and I got an offer afterwards, so that was my first offer too. Usually you're pretty excited about your first offer so that was pretty sweet. The coaches told me that I'd fit in with the place they have there. I think they have a pretty sweet recruiting class right now and they're starting on my class.
Gedeon said that it helps to know that Michigan is recruiting well, but it's not the only reason he's interested.
It helps to have a good class, they'll probably be top five so that's definitely a plus. Michigan has the most wins, and I've always followed Michigan throughout my childhood, so I've always been a fan.
He plans on using this year to work on his game and leadership skills as well.
I've definitely been trying to become more of a leader. Last year I was just a sophomore so this year I'm trying to be more of a vocal leader. I think I blitz pretty well, I'm trying to work on my leverage, get my pad level down, and I also think I'm really good at getting to the ball.
Ben plans on making it up for a Michigan game this season, but isn't positive yet on which one.
I might visit for the night game against Notre Dame. I'm just going to let my recruitment play out and see what happens. I might make an early decision but we'll see what happens.
I think right now for Gedeon some of the bigger schools like Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State are a few that stick out for him.
6'3", 285 lbs.
Dillard is another 2013 prospect that could end up with a Michigan offer. He's not originally from Michigan, but is hoping to learn more about the program.
Most of my family is from North Carolina. It's been six years since we moved to Michigan. I've heard a ton about Michigan's tradition from some of my teachers.
Dillard has gotten a head start on his recruitment, and is already starting to hear from some top programs.
Michigan State invited me to their practice, and I've heard from Indiana, Cincinnati, Stanford, Oregon, EMU, WMU, Michigan, Arkansas, and UCF. I work with Lomas Brown every Saturday and I also train with Mike Barwis at his facility five days a week.
He's heard from a good amount of schools and Michigan has already told Dillard a timeline for their evaluation on him.
Coach Funk told me he wants to watch my first three games of the season. All the [Michigan] coaches liked me at their camp and so they want to watch the first three games and then decide on an offer.
Dillard is an outstanding young man. He's only 16 years old and is already involved within his community. He has been involved with the Special Olympics, and Big House Big Heart Champions for Charity.
With the commitment of DT Ondre Pipkins many fans were wondering where DT Danny O'Brien stood and if the Michigan coaches would still accept a commitment from O'Brien. Danny has a phone call scheduled with the Michigan coaches to talk on Monday [the 15th] about where he stands. He told me that he will still consider Michigan if there's a spot open. I will let you know how the phone call went as soon as he has it.
As I noted earlier in the week, Washington OL Joshua Garnett is now planning his visit for the Notre Dame night game. That's a big deal because he had been previously saying he would wait until the Ohio State game to visit. In the post I made it clear that Garnett and Michigan commit Erik Magnuson have become very close and that Michigan has a real chance of landing Garnett. I want to reiterate that now, he doesn't know where he's going yet but Michigan has a legitimate shot at landing him.
Since the season is almost here that also means official visits will be scheduled soon. The first game against Western Michigan won't be as big as the Notre Dame game visit-wise, obviously, but there are some notable prospects that are planning to make it in. So far commitments Allen Gant and Matt Godin have said they'll be there. There is also a good chance that receivers Amara Darboh and Darius Powe will be in for that weekend as well. Powe isn't sure what date he'll be in yet, but he told me he wants to make it in for a game earlier in the season.
2013 DB Shaquille Wiggins also said that he will be in for the Western game, but I'm going to double check to make sure he didn't mean the Notre Dame game. Most of these aren't set in stone anyway so just keep that in mind. Also these aren't all of the names necessarily, just who I've spoken with so far.