Jared Wheeler, a six-foot-six, 310-pound offensive tackle from American Heritage High, will travel with his high school teammates to Jacksonville, Fla., for a Friday night showdown vs. The Bolles School before he heads to Auburn to check out the Tigers. The Patriots are 2-0 with victories of Clewiston High and Bay Point High.
"This will be Jared's first official visit and Auburn is one of his top five colleges," says the lineman's father, Jim Wheeler, who plans to make the trip to the Auburn campus, too.
The father and son visited Auburn earlier this year for a summer camp and AU's offensive line coach Hugh Nall was impressed enough to offer a scholarship. That list of offers is a long one with more than 30 including AU's Saturday night opponent, LSU, Wheeler notes.
"Jared is very interested in majoring in engineering and that is one of the attractions of Auburn because of its strong program in that area," the elder Wheeler says. "We had a chance to talk to the head of the engineering department when we visited Auburn in the summer and were impressed."
He adds that Jared, who has been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, has literally been recruited by colleges from coast to coast as far away as Stanford in the west, Michigan in the north and Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton in the northeast.
Wheeler plays left offensive tackle and sees spot duty on defense when needed there, but is being recruited by colleges to play offense. He has been a starter on varsity high school teams since he was a seventh grader when he played on a start-up program at Sheridan Hills Christian. He now plays for American Heritage, one of the top high school athletic programs in the state of Florida.
Wheeler is rated as one of the Top 11 prospects in Broward County by the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and one of the Top 10 prospects by the Miami Herald.
"We were very impressed by the coaching staff, the facilities and the academics when we came to the Auburn camp," Jim Wheeler says. "We are impressed with the job Coach (Tommy) Tuberville does and the stability of his program.
"We also talked to Auburn's strength and conditioning coach (Kevin Yoxall) and were very impressed," Wheeler adds.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Jared Wheeler is six-foot-six and may not be finished growing. He wears a size 16 shoe and has a little (actually younger but bigger) brother, junior Jacob Wheeler, who is a 6-8, 240-pound defensive tackle and tight end who is a college prospect in football and basketball.