Tate Wildeman didn't know if he'd be able to make it to Arizona State's Junior Day, but is glad he did.
A 6-foot-6, 235 pound defensive end at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado, Wildeman picked up his first major conference scholarship offer while in Tempe on Saturday.
"We were watching practice at first for a couple hours and then coach (Billy) Napier came up and he called the defensive coordinator [Phil Bennett] over and said, 'this is my guy, right here.'" Wildeman said. "Then coach Bennett said, 'we really want to offer you and we'll talk a lot more about it today.' Then we went to the conference room and they said, 'we want to offer you, no doubt. And I met with coach (Todd) Graham and coach (Michael) Slater and everyone else."
"It's awesome to be looked at that way and just get an offer from a Power 5 conference is really exciting. Coach Napier had been sending me information about ASU. At first I couldn't go down to the Junior Day because I was pretty busy but then things opened up in my schedule and I was able to make it down there and it turned out great."
ASU made a positive impression on Wildeman, who already had offers from Air Force, Colorado State, Hawaii, Nevada and Wyoming.
"They said they love my length and my film," Wildeman said. "Coach Bennett said that he liked my fast-twitch. It kind of depends how big as far as what position I would play there but right now want to put me as a 5-tech and maybe I'll grow into a 3-tech.
"I loved everything about it. The coaching staff, the weather, the atmosphere, the mentality of the staff. It was great. I liked how they are upgrading their facilities. We saw the slideshow of it. It was getting kind of late and they said they knew I was going to come back anyways when it's closer to being done."
Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and UCLA are also recruiting Wildeman, he said, and he's planning to take visits to Iowa and Nebraska in coming months. Wildeman grew up a fan of the Hawkeyes because his father Parker Wildeman was a standout nose guard for the team in the 1990s.
"He was an all-league nose guard and graduated in 1994," the younger Wildeman said. "He taught me everything I know about football. We talk about it every day, watch film, go to the gym, work on my hands. I look up to my dad personally, the the way he played, he hunted the ball. He was 6-foot-2, not that big at all, maybe 270-275, but the way he pursued the ball and the way he played so hard, he was great."
Wildeman played last season at 215 pounds, he said, but is now 235-240. He believes he'll eventually weight at least 270-plus pounds by the time he physically matures in college.