Chocolate Wilson had a handful of NCAA Division I college offers.
One college president made sure his school’s stood out.
The Myrtle Beach defensive back committed to Marshall over the weekend after his trip to the W.Va. school. Included in the visit was some time with university president Stephen J. Kopp.
“Coming from him, it was exciting,” Wilson said Monday. “He loves football. It’s a family tradition. He looked me in the eye and told me they’d welcome me.”
It all but ends what has been a two-year recruiting cycle for Wilson. He picked up his first offers after a breakout sophomore season in which he was targeted as a priority by several big-name schools. Purdue, Mississippi, Missouri and North Carolina State all offered.
He had a monster junior season in which he was named as one of the best cornerbacks in the state. That year, he had six interceptions, 39 tackles – including three for loss – forced two fumbles and scored on a pair of defensive touchdowns. He also played on offense and special teams.
He missed the entire regular season as a senior after having surgery to repair cartilage tears in his knee. However, based largely on his 2011 production, he was selected for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and participated in that game in December.
According to Wilson, none of the five schools that had offered backed off; however, Marshall was the most consistent throughout the process.
“Marshall offered me early,” he said. “They just kept coming at me. I liked that.”
Wilson’s commitment will not be official until he signs his letter of intent with the Thundering Herd. National Signing Day is Feb. 6, and Wilson said he intends to do so that day.
While his recruitment is essentially over, that doesn’t mean he’s done thinking about it. In the next two-plus weeks, Wilson said he hope to be able to persuade Conway quarterback Mykal Moody to also commit to Marshall.
The two are good friends and have known each other long before their high school playing days. Within hours of Wilson giving his verbal commitment, he was on the phone with Moody.
“He called me about [midnight Monday] pushing,” Moody said.
The Conway quarterback is taking it into heavy consideration. With offers from North Carolina State, Kentucky, Mississippi, Marshall and East Carolina, Moody said Monday he’s leaning toward the latter two.
“I feel like East Carolina and Marshall are on the rise,” he said. “They’re getting a lot better. I feel like I could come in and contribute big time.”
ECU and Marshall have told Moody he would be a proper fit as a do-it-all player. He could see time as a slot receiver, running back and in the Wildcat, as well as on special teams.
Mostly, that’s based on the diversity he exhibited throughout his time at Conway. Moody is the only known player in South Carolina history to have passed for 4,000 career yards while also rushing for 3,000. He finished his career with 106 total touchdowns.
Moody said he expects to meet with Marshall assistant Gerad Parker – the same coach responsible for Wilson’s recruitment – next week. He then has one more official visit to ECU on Feb. 1. Like Wilson, Moody said he expects to finalize the process on National Signing Day.
Up to that point, he’ll get plenty of advice from Wilson.
“I’m trying to get it in [his head],” Wilson said. “I’m telling him like it is. It would feel good. The guy’s from right around the corner. There’s not a lot of South Carolina people up there.”
Region hoops midway point
Tuesday night marks the midway point of the high school basketball region seasons for most area teams.
And for three girls’ teams, Tuesday night’s games could either shore up one as the Region VII-AAA front-runner or log-jam the top of the region. North Myrtle Beach (16-2, 4-0 region) heads to Socastee (21-6, 3-1) on Tuesday night. With a victory, the Chiefs sweep the first half of its region slate.
However, a Socastee victory – accompanied by a Myrtle Beach (11-7, 3-1) win over Georgetown – would result in a three-way tie atop the division.
“It’s definitely resonating with me,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “We’re trying not to talk about that too much. If we lose and Myrtle Beach wins, it’s not a good situation for us. It’s not a bad situation to be tied for first, but it’s a much better situation if we go ahead and win.”
Socastee isn’t the same team it was in recent years. The Braves have already eclipsed last season’s win tally and their lone region defeat was a four-point loss to Myrtle Beach on Jan. 11.
Senior Blake Smith is averaging 17 points in her last five games after missing much of the first part of the season with a dislocated elbow. And Socastee has held all but five of its opponents to 40 points or fewer this season.
“Going to Socastee, I’m definitely not looking forward to that,” Hunt said. “They’re a team that can do some damage to teams. They have some real great shooters and they have a good zone defense. And that’s not something that we’re that good against.”