Wiley Wondering What to Do

Big defensive tackle Zeke Wiley is being stretched like a rubber band. Up north the University of Utah coaches are making a strong pull for Wiley services. In the Orem High School star's backyard, BYU and first year head coach Bronco Mendenhall are tugging in the other direction.

After losing to Highland High School in the quarterfinals of the Utah state football playoffs, Zeke Wiley turns his full attention to continuing his career at the D-1 level. For Wiley, the final decision on where he will spend the next four to five years of his life will not come until after he has taken all four of his scheduled trips.

"They [UofU] beat BYU this year and that was a big game," said Wiley. "They have a lot of [Polynesian] boys over there. Probably around 80 percent of the players are Tongan, Samoan and Hawaiian over there and they're looking good over there. They're one of my top schools in state."

So did the BYU loss help tip the scales a little more in favor of Utah?

"Yeah, a little bit," Wiley said. "Well, both of the head coaches had their first year at BYU and Utah. I think both programs are going to just get better every year and both made it to a bowl game this year. I just want to keep my options open. I gave a soft verbal to BYU early. They're just right here close to home and they were the first ones to offer me. They have a lot of Poly's too but not as much as Utah so those are my two top choices right now. We'll see what happens after I go on my trips. I speak to both Utah and BYU coaches every week. Sometimes they talk about football and sometimes they talk about school, but mostly just to keep in touch to see what is going on."

Fellow teammate and close friend Ryan Freeman has already given a solid verbal commitment to play for the Cougars, and has told Wiley that he would like to continue playing with him at the next level. Something the two have done since the seventh grade.

"Ryan [Freeman's] doing good," Wiley said. "He played both offense and defense and is going to BYU for sure. He always tells me every day that I have to go play with him at the "Y". After our last game when we lost he told me that I was going to go play with him at the Y. We've been playing right next to each other since the seventh grade. I think about playing with him, and he wants me to come play with him."

After a solid season Wiley currently has four scholarship offers. "I finished up with 60 tackles this year," said Wiley. "I had three sacks, and I'm around 6'4" or 6'5" and around 317 pounds during the season. I didn't give up any sacks this year and didn't jump off sides and had no penalties. Right now, I have offers from New Mexico State, Oregon, BYU and Utah. Those are the four right there. I go to New Mexico State this weekend and then the other three are in January. They've all offered me a scholarship. Right now, I'm just looking at all of them. I just want to go out there and check out all of them."

Former BYU head coach Gary Crowton has shown quite a bit of interest in Wiley and has even been down to watch him play in person during one of his playoff games. Wiley will trip to Oregon in January, but is looking to stay in state where his family can watch him play.

"It doesn't matter, but most likely [I'm] staying in state," said Wiley. "It really comes down to how I feel when I visit them, like Oregon. Mostly Coach Crowton from Oregon has spoken to me. He came to my second to last game and they were just sending me letters throughout the whole season. Then I got a letter from them saying they offered me a scholarship. I never really talked to any of them on the phone until Crowton came down and I talk to him. I feel good about that and I think they offered me after they saw my film. My mom wants me to stay in state and my pops it is the same probably. Being in state, I'll still be on my own, but home will be just right around the corner."

Wiley has yet to pass the ACT and will retake take the exam soon. For Wiley, education is important and is one aspect that he likes about BYU. He has also been to both locker rooms and has seen the different dispositions of both teams.

"I'm just looking for education and the how the team is with each other—if the team is more of a family or is it a me, me, me type of team," said Wiley. "I've been to both locker rooms of BYU and Utah. With the Utah one it was kind of crazy. You see all the Poly boys with the Bob [Marley] going on and they're dancing with the Mei Uli [African American] boys. With BYU it's more quiet but you can still tell what's going on."


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