The first big offer may wind up being the only offer Ladarius Wiley ever needs. Northwestern is from a big conference (the B1G conference), and Pat Fitzgerald’s team certainly did some big winning last season, including the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, which Wiley namechecked on multiple occasions. Still, the definition was a little bit fuzzy, so Wiley a 6’1’’, 185-pound defensive back out of Cathedral High School (Los Angeles) – was explicitly clear about his word choice.
“Big academically and football-wise,” Wiley said Tuesday night. “They just won a bowl game. The academics and history of the school are great. The location is nice, too.”
Preliminary talks with defensive backs coach Jerry Brown began in January, and after visiting Wiley’s high school for several workouts and meeting with academic advisors, Brown extended an offer last week. Wiley quickly called head coach Pat Fitzgerald to relay his excitement.
“I was ecstatic,” he said. So, too, was his mom, who Wiley says loves Northwestern not only for its academic prestige but for its location. Strange as it may seem from afar, Wiley’s mom is actually encouraging her son to choose a school outside the state of California. She wants to travel.
“She’d prefer I not stay here,” he said. “Chicago is great.”
Counting Northwestern, that gives Wiley three offers. He has been in contact with numerous Big Ten and Pac-12 schools and believes all of Nebraska, Arizona State, Utah Boise State and Boston College could soon join the list. Wiley has also had talks with Michigan and Missouri, along with a host of other BCS programs.
If those offers do materialize, Wiley will have a difficult decision to make. Securing even half of the aforementioned offers would leave any prospect with a range of attractive destinations to choose from. But Wiley’s decision may be simpler than you think.
He and his mom plan to visit Northwestern for the first time in late June or early July, and when he steps on campus, Wiley will bring an overly optimistic attitude about the Wildcats’ academic and football aspects, as well as the Chicago-proximal location.
All that’s left to consider at this point is the campus itself, and if he feels comfortable with the cozy Evanston college town and academic buildings, Wiley just might make a decision right then and there.
“I will seriously take it into consideration,” Wiley said of the possibility he may commit while on his visit this summer. “They are my number one."
I suppose that’s what Wiley meant when he called Northwestern his first “big” offer – big enough to make him think long and hard about ending his college recruitment altogether.