Wilks Ended his Recruiting as Fast as it Started

You can him a sleeper recruit; you can even call him a hidden gem. But don't call Price Wilks a procrastinator. As quick as ASU contacted him, that's how fast he tripped to Tempe, and committed on his visit. DevilsDigest talked to one of the latest Sun Devil verbal commitments, as well as his high school coach Robert Oviedo.

In the begining of the season, the 6-1 190 Wilks was nowhere to be found when it came to a list of recruits in the Los Angeles area. Nevertheless, the Wilson high school star wasn't terribly surprised. "I felt that that I kind of deserved to get recruited early after we played a few games," he said. "But I wasn't able to really shine earlier my junior year. So I did expect that no one would look at me in the beginning of my season. I knew that I did have to prove myself."

Coach Oviedo offered his perspective. "He didn't emerge from nowhere," Oviedo stated. "But he didn't have a big junior year (rushed for approximately 500 yards). We didn't play anybody big in the begining of our schedule, so no big schools were really after him."

A few big games by Wilks prompted Oviedo to go ahead and sent out some video highlights. Consequently, the response from some of the schools receiving the tapes was positive. "The turning point was the game against Los Altos," recalled Oviedo. "They have a great defense, but Price rushed for 250 yards. That's when he started to open some eyes." The Wilson coach added that (ASU's) Coach Osborne liked what he saw, and not long after that the wheels were in full monition.

ASU was the first one to offer a scholarship to Wilks, but another school beat them to the punch when proposing an official visit. Nevertheless, the timing of the Devils turned out to be the more efficient one. "UCLA was actually the first school that offered me a visit," said Wilks. "But I never took it. The week after ASU talked to me about the video they flew me up there. UCLA wanted to wait until January to have me visit." He added that UCLA had just called last week after a lengthy silence, but he felt that for the longest time "They just disappeared off the radar." Cal was another school that showed passing interest.

Back on the weekend of December 19th, Wilks did make his official trip to Tempe. Naturally, he was very impressed on the trip. "I liked everything about that place," he remarked. "It's a great environment, not only for football but also for learning. They really focus on getting your degree, so you have something to fall back on in case football doesn't work out."

Wilks ended up verbaling on the trip. Not only did his feelings about ASU guide him in his decision, but also a desire not to drag on his recruiting. "From the start of the (recruiting) process I did feel a sense of urgency," stated Wilks. "ASU was the first school to offer, we liked what we saw, and we thought that it wasn't good to wait around. You never know what can happen, and I didn't want to get shut out. The more we thought about it, we realized that this was the perfect school for me." The running back added that he was really surprised that everything happened so fast. However, "My dad told me that this happens all the time. I was just shocked at the whole thing."

In his senior season, Price Wilks gained 1934 yards on the ground for an average of 6.8 yards a carry. He scored 21 touchdowns on the year. He also tallied 193 yards receiving, and scored a couple of touchdowns 2TD's. On defense, he returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

"Price has had a fantastic year for us," stated coach Oviedo. "He was our primary ball carrier and he really helped us have a balanced attack. We had a credible run threat, that made it easier to pass."

"He played primarily at tailback," continued Oviedo. "On occasion he would be flanked to the outside. He played weak side outside linebacker, which in our system is like playing a defensive back. He always made big plays, and knew how to put pressure on the quarterback. He just made plays all over the field." The Wilson high school (Hacienda Heights, CA) coach added that Wilks is a good student who comes from a good family. He has strong work ethic, and was a co-captain and one of the leaders on our team."

As a junior, Wilks was the 100M champion in the Miramonte League. Oviedo listed that this speed attribute is one of Jones' strengths. "He has great speed (4.4)," exclaimed Oviedo. "And always keeps his legs going. He gains a lot of yards after he breaks a tackle. He has good field vision. His weakness is his overall strength. But once he gets a chance to be in a good conditioning program like ASU, he'll get stronger." The coach added that he believes Wilks would wish to play running back at ASU, and in any event he hasn't come close to fulfilling his potential.

Price Wilks will undoubtedly hear folks refer to him for a while as a sleeper, in his first couple of years in uniform. Does that label bother him? "I'm fine with the label right now because that's exactly what I am. But in the future I want get rid of that and make a name for myself."

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