RECRUITING: Interview with Briceton Wilson

<img src=http://www246.pair.com/autoybkh/albums/album95/P1000353.thumb.jpg align=right>Offensive guard Jim Tartt has been on campus for a few short weeks, but the big man from Sopchoppy is already having an effect. The Gators are trying to lure Briceton Wilson, a good friend of Tartt's, to follow his path from Wakulla High School to Gainesville.

Wilson (6'1 195) is a running back prospect whose star is definitely on the rise. He was easily the top running back prospect while on the University of Florida campus for the Rising Seniors Camp back in July.

And there is no question that the "Tartt Effect" has made the Gators the team to beat for his services. Wilson's respect and admiration for the Tartt family was plainly evident throughout our conversation. "I think that it plays a real big role. I mean, you know Jim. He's a very nice guy. I wouldn't mind taking it to the next level and having Jim (laughs) block for me, just like in high school. That would be nice. You've seen him before. That's a big old joker. (laughs) Jim blocking for me at the next level…that would be awesome. Also, Mr Tartt has really played a bit of a father figure in my life." In fact, Wilson goes far to credit Tartt's prowess as a highly regarded offensive linemen for getting Wakulla players noticed by recruiters. "Jim, that's my boy. He really opened it up for us here"

The absence of former War Eagle Al Donaldson should ensure more attention for the 4.47 (40x) speedster. Wakulla doesn't have a road grader like Tartt along its' offensive front in 2004, so Wilson understands that he will have to create opportunities with his strength and athleticism. Off of the field, Wilson said that he will fight to qualify academically. "This year I really have to bust my butt and work on the ACT score. A coach from Alabama State, Coach Scott, gave me a book called "Cracking the ACT", so I'm reading that right now. Mr. Burke has (also) been tutoring me for the ACT. I want to do whatever I can. I need a 17 on it. Coach Disch wants me to have a 17 on it."

Despite early obscurity, the Tartt Effect and his strong efforts at the Rising Seniors Camp have made coaches at Florida aware of the talents Briceton Wilson. If he can bust his butt, as he puts it, the future just may reunite a couple of friends who together could well put Wakulla High School on everybody's recruiting map.


Briceton Wilson (#25) at UF's Rising Senior Camp

Mark McLeod: What's been your focus this summer as far as the workouts?

Briceton Wilson: "Actually, my high school coaches wanted me to get a little faster. I attended the University of Florida Rising seniors camp as well"

Mark McLeod: Is strong safety something that you'll be playing this season at Wakulla?

Briceton Wilson: "Yeah, this season Jim's gone, Al Donaldson is gone. So, I'll have to be in shape to play both ways this year. I'll probably have to go both ways in a lot of games"

Mark McLeod: Academics - How far away are you and what steps are you taking to try and qualify?

Briceton Wilson: "This year I really have to bust my butt and work on the ACT score. Actually, a coach from Alabama State, what it was is, my first cousin graduated from Alabama State. I went up for spring break and he introduced me to Coach Scott. He's a pretty nice guy. He helps me a lot academic wise. He gave me a book called "Cracking the ACT", so I'm reading that right now trying to use that as a main step to crack the ACT. I need a 17 on it. Coach Disch wants me to have a 17 on it. The last time I took it was my sophomore year. I didn't really take it my junior year. It's one of those things where I said that I was going to take it and just laid off."

Mark McLeod: Some guys work with some of the (private) pay programs or teachers who volunteer to help with the tests. Are you working with some of the teachers at Wakulla High School?

Briceton Wilson: "Yeah. As a matter of fact, Mr. Burke has been tutoring me for the ACT. I want to do whatever I can. Cracking the ACT is really the only thing holding me up"

Mark McLeod: Wakulla has always had a strong weightlifting program. How has your involvement in the program been?

Briceton Wilson: "I placed second in the Big Bend tournament. I power cleaned 310. Jim power cleaned 335. If it's power cleans it's me and Jim. My maximum bench press is 325. My press is 300. I weight lift and play a little basketball as well"

Mark McLeod: Which schools are recruiting you the hardest?

Briceton Wilson: "I would say Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech. I'm not hearing too much from Florida State. That's about it really"

Mark McLeod: Is everybody pretty much recruiting you as a running back?

Briceton Wilson: "Actually, Florida and LSU are recruiting me as a running back. Everyone else wants me to play strong safety. I've played corner a little, but not too much at safety. I've played linebacker and corner. I'm not familiar with strong safety, but I can play it"

Mark McLeod: Of all the coaches recruiting you, who has been the most impressive and why?

Briceton Wilson: "Actually, honestly, I would say Coach Disch, the recruiting coach from the University of Florida, because he has a great personality and he breaks everything down where I can understand. He's straight up. He's straight ahead. He doesn't try to sugar coat anything. About the ACT, he just let me know, Briceton, this is what you need to do. This is exactly what you need to make. You need to bust your butt your senior year and that's what I'm focused on right now. But, Coach Disch is a great coach"

Mark McLeod: Has there anybody else who has made a strong impression on you?

Briceton Wilson: "Well, I forget his name. He's a recruiting coach from LSU. I just met him. And he seems like a pretty nice guy. He calls every now and then. But, Coach Disch really is a great recruiting coach"

Mark McLeod: What is going to be that one thing that does it for you when it comes to selecting that college?

Briceton Wilson: "Well, I want to get away from Tallahassee, you know what I mean. I don't want to stay here in Tallahassee. You got some friends that you don't need to be around. I just want to get away, to start over in a sense, but I don't want to go too far away from my Mom. She's a single parent and that's like my backbone. So, I really don't want to go too far. That's what I mean. I don't know yet, but, Gainesville would be nice, it's not too far, but it's away from Tallahassee"

Mark McLeod: Certainly the Tartt family, the Wakulla family, is a tight knit group. The Tartt's are a big part of that, and you and Jim have a strong relationship. How does that play in your consideration of Florida?

Briceton Wilson: "I think that it plays a real big role. I mean, you know Jim. He's a very nice guy. I wouldn't mind taking it to the next level and having Jim (laughs) block for me, just like in high school. That would be nice. You've seen him before. That's a big old joker. (laughs) Jim blocking for me at the next level, that would be awesome. Jim's senior year, he injured is shoulder. This was Jim's year to win state. The guy that beat him last year in heavyweight, beat him by five pounds, and he was a senior. Jim could bench press 450-455, clean and jerk 330. It kind of upset me. He wanted it a lot. He worked really hard. Jim worked very hard. When football season was over after his junior year, we had fourth period weightlifting for football players. Everyone else would leave, but Jim and Al would still be there working out. Also, Mr Tartt has really played a bit of a father figure in my life."

Mark McLeod: Has he ever let you drive his Orange truck? The hot rod?

Briceton Wilson: (laughs) "Oh, no sir" (laughs)

Mark McLeod: What are all of those black tread marks just outside of his driveway?

Briceton Wilson: (laughs) "Oh, so you've been to Jim's house!" (laughs)


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