“First, I want to thank you [USC] for considering me to be a part of the Trojan family,” Free said via Twitter. “[The] University of Southern California is a very prestigious school, and anyone would be honored to attend [it]. Unfortunately, after further consideration and talking it over with my family, I have decided to respectfully announce my de-commitment from USC, and [I will] open up my recruiting process again.”
Playing both wide receiver and cornerback at Lynwood High School, Free lives close to the campus of the University of Southern California. One reason why Free decided to decommit from USC was to get out of the Los Angeles area.
“Growing up I’ve always wanted to go to USC or UCLA,” said Free. “Being from where I’m from, everyone wants to either go to USC or UCLA being the bigger programs close by where I’m from in Southern California. That’s kind of why I committed because it was where everyone wants to go. After I committed I kind of thought about it some more. I felt like I wanted to get away from home and experience different things, because USC is right in my backyard. I wanted to get away from home.”
Free had been offered by BYU and had actually been on BYU’s campus for an unofficial visit. While on campus he met and spoke with BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford and a few other members of the football staff.
“[Coach Gilford]’s a straightforward guy,” said Free. “When I met him at BYU when I was on my unofficial visit, he was very straightforward with me. He told me what I needed to do to get better and was great about that. As a person, I like him already.
“We toured around the campus and I loved the facilities. It was a good visit. I was introduced to some of the coaching staff and they really showed me the love when I was there. I want to go back out and visit BYU again because everything is going good with them.”
Free came away feeling comfortable both with the staff members he interacted with and the environment found at BYU.
“I didn’t meet the entire coaching staff when I was on my unofficial visit, but the members of the coaching staff that I did meet were really welcoming,” said Free. “I felt comfortable being around them in that environment. Being at BYU, I liked it honestly. It’s a Christian school and it was a new experience for me getting out of my current environment. I really liked it out there.”
BYU has been showing Free a lot of interest with that interest picking up as signing day looms ever closer. He plans to set up an official visit to BYU when he meets with Coach Gilford.
“I’m actually about to have a home visit [Friday] with Coach Gilford,” said Free. “We’re going to set up an official visit to BYU. They’ve been showing me a lot more interest as we get closer to signing day. They let me know that they want me to be a part of their program and I would love to be a part of their program. They’ve been showing me a lot of interest.”
While on an official visit, Free wants to learn more about what his BYU scholarship will provide him both from an academic and football perspective.
“I pretty much want to learn more about the academics that BYU has,” said Free. “I want to see what kind of programs they have that fit my major. That’s something I want to see. Then, I want to talk to the coaches about my role on the team and what my role would be. I just want to get more details than when I was on my unofficial.”
The reputation of BYU’s business school ranks among the top collegiate programs in the country. Business happens to be the field of study Wylan Free is looking to pursue while attending college, which bodes well for BYU.
“Yeah, I want to study business,” said Free. “That’s the major I want to study. When I go to BYU on an official I want to check out their business department and see if that is a good fit for me.”
One thing that caught Free’s attention while visiting BYU on his unofficial visit was the message of helping their student-athletes excel after their time on the field. This was a message he never heard on any other campus.
“When I went on a few unofficial visits to other schools none of them talked about life after football. The only school that talked about life after football if you don’t make it to the NFL was BYU. BYU talked about taking care of their student athletes after I graduate. That really stood out to me.”null