A week after national signing day, South Carolina’s Mr. Football Matt Colburn signed a national letter of intent to play football at Wake Forest.
The Dutch Fork running back arrived at his signing ceremony on Wednesday wearing a golden Wake Forest bow tie, and donned a Demon Deacons visor on announcing his choice.
“I’m just elated right now, it’s a big relief,” Colburn said to a standing-room-only crowd at Dutch Fork High. “I didn’t think I’d ever be here, and it’s truly a blessing. It’s a tremendous feeling to know that I’ve got everybody here on my side.”
Colburn chose Wake Forest after a whirlwind week of visits and phone calls that followed in the week after Louisville –the program Colburn committed to in June 2014 – withdrew its scholarship offer two days before the Feb. 5 signing day.
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“He’s learned some ugly lessons from this, but I think it’s things that will help him through his life,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said. “He was better than I was. He said it was time to move on, and then we got to work.”
Colburn said it was stressful to pack eight months of recruiting activity and three official visits into a week. But on Wednesday, he was over it all.
“I’m real excited to know that I’m playing football somewhere,” Colburn said, “because a week ago, I didn’t know if I was.”
After committing to Louisville, Colburn had stopped taking calls and visits. So when he found out the Cardinals wanted him to grayshirt and not be a part of the team until January 2016, it was devastating.
“In this situation, a lot of doors had been closed, so schools in the ACC and SEC were full,” Knotts said. “Thank goodness a school the quality of Wake Forest had something available.”
“Wake Forest was in need of running backs, and I think he got a chance to play immediately, and we look forward to what he’ll do there as a student athlete,” Knotts said. “They’re getting not only a great football player but a fine young man.”
Colburn said he knew on Sunday after visiting Wake Forest that he wanted to be a part of the program.
“I had learned previously about their prestige, they have a great tradition, and they just got a whole new coaching staff. With this class, history can be made, and I want to be part of that,” Colburn said.
“They really do utilize their backs. The back is a very versatile position in their offense, so that’s making me excited,” he said.
As for Louisville?
“I’m moving on to greater things. I’m at a better school now than I could have ever imagined, and it’s crazy because a week ago, I didn’t think that ever could have happened.”
Still, Colburn said he has dreams of facing Louisville on Oct. 30 as a Demon Deacon and rushing for “like a thousand” yards.
Knotts said, “I’m going to mark that date on my calendar, also.”