Signing day a year away for Lafayette star
BY MIKE FIELDS
National signing day has arrived for high school football players across America. One of the highest rated recruits in Kentucky, however, will have to wait until next year to put his signature on a college letter of intent.
Jedrick Wills, a 6-foot-5 1/2, 300-pound five-star offensive lineman at Lafayette, is just a junior. Rated the third best OL prospect in the nation in the class of 2017, he already has offers from most of the major powers, including national champion Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee.
Kentucky is in the mix, too, of course.
The soft-spoken, even-keel Wills said he’s trying to enjoy the hype-fueled recruiting process.
Jed Wills, his dad (who is an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Lafayette), isn’t surprised Jedrick is handling all the attention with aplomb. “He doesn’t get too excited. He takes things as they come,” Jed said.
Jedrick’s mom Sivi (who played basketball at EKU) described her son as being “very laid back and very quiet. He knows what he wants but he’s not going to tell you. He’s real respectful and down-to-earth, and he’s very smart. He’s a thinker.”
Sivi isn’t surprised that Jedrick is in the spotlight now.
“He’s always been a special kid, always ahead of others — bigger and stronger, and intelligent, too,” she said. “He was walking at 5 months. Yes, literally walking when he was 5 months. He didn’t do a lot of crawling. He was big and strong and stout, and he just got up one day and took off.”
Jedrick and his mom spent last weekend at Alabama as the Crimson Tide hosted some of the top juniors in the nation. Wills met with Coach Nick Saban and soaked up the atmosphere of America’s premier program.
“It was definitely amazing and it met the expectations I had going down there,” Wills said. “I didn’t want to come back.”
His mom said his eyes lit up when he saw Alabama’s weight room, and she could tell he was nervous when they were sitting in Saban’s office.
Saban told Wills he’d welcome a commitment from him now, or next year on signing day. After all, Wills is a talent worth waiting on.
He’s in no hurry to make a decision. He hopes to attend several college spring games, and then take a summer road trip with his dad. Their travel plans tentatively include stops at Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State.
“He wants to see what’s out there,” Jed Wills said.
College coaches aren’t the only ones recruiting Wills. He said college and high school players are trying to persuade him to “hop aboard” the school of their choice. That includes Lafayette teammates Landon Young (a senior offensive lineman who has signed with UK) and junior Walker Wood (a quarterback who has commited to UK).
“They don’t too much pressure on me,” Jedrick said. “They’ll do it once in awhile, just joking around about it.”
Jedrick’s parents won’t try to influence their son.
“I don’t pressure him on it; he’ll make his own decision,” Jed said. “And his mom feels the same way. He’ll take his time and figure it out. He’s smart and he’s very analytical about things.”
And this time next year, Jedrick Wills will have made some college coach very happy.
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