Wilder Talks Texas Tech Commitment

Katy four-star safety Collin Wilder committed to Texas Tech on Sunday night. Wilder will only be a junior in the fall, but he already has two years of varsity experience on one of the top programs in Texas. RaiderPower.com caught up with him Monday to get the scoop on why he picked Texas Tech and how it all went down.

First off congrats on the commitment.

Wilder: Thanks.

So how did you let the coaches know? How did that go?

Wilder: I called coach [Mike] Jinks first, I thought that would be the best thing to do since he was the one to offer me. So I called him and I didn't have Kingsbury's number at the time, so I called coach [Trey] Haverty and coach [Kevin] Curtis and told them I wanted to make it official. Then eventually I called coach Kingsbury later on after they were able to get ahold of him and gave me his number.

What was the coaches' general reaction? What stood out as the main reaction from them?

Wilder: With all of them there was laughter and maybe a bit of surprise, because they weren't expecting me to commit this early. They were all really excited and they couldn't tell me enough how much they were looking forward to me coming up there after two years.

I spoke with you before and you seemed very into Tech and you visited a bunch, but what made you go ahead and decide to pull the trigger and commit to Tech?

Wilder: Well I visited several schools in the past few months, and of course I visited Tech too, then I eventually saw Tech again when they came down here last week for camp and after experiencing being around those other schools and then being back around them I knew that was the place for me, that I would be happy up there. I had that feeling and knew this was the right time to pull that trigger.

With you committing early what kind of role do you think you can have as far as recruiting other guys to join you in that class and to join you at Tech? Is that something you plan on doing or not?

Wilder: Yes sir. They (Tech coaches) already gave me that role, told me they are going to build the class around me as the leader of this class. So, I'm definitely going to take the initiative and recruit for our class. You know I'm already kind of starting.

You brought at least one or two teammates from Katy when you visited in the spring, right?

Wilder: Yes sir, I think I brought four or five.

That's right, you brought a bunch, I forgot.

Wilder: Yes sir.

Tell me more about what you like about Tech. You said you felt like it was the right school for you. What makes Tech the right school and the right fit for you?

Wilder: Well, first of all the coaches, how great they are and how they can interact with their players. Just how much they make everything fun is a huge part, because I need to make sure wherever I'm going I'm going to have fun. I know for a fact I would going there and the coaches, they work you, but at the same time they allow you to enjoy the game and that's what is most important when it comes to football. And of course my uncle and aunt went there so, it's pretty cool how that worked out with the family situation because they have season tickets and all that.

That's definitely a plus, but I just knew that this program was going in the right direction and saw the potential and the leadership in me even my freshman year when they offered me. Not one other school has done that yet, so for them to see that already makes them a huge step ahead of all the other schools.

I hear that a lot from recruits. How important was it that they offered you that early and obviously you play for Katy, so you are well known, but to get that offer from a Big 12 school--how important was it for you and how big of a role was it in you committing?

It was a huge deal for them to offer me that early, because I knew that I was going to be great within these next few years.
I had a great season this last year and so obviously what I see in myself, they see the same thing and the other schools are saying "be patient" "maybe if you develop" "maybe if you grow". They (Tech) see me as a football player, and I just respect that so much. When they offered me all they did was watch my film, they never saw me run the 40, they never saw how big I was, they offered me as soon as I saw them. That's just a huge deal for how they see me as a football player and as a person.

You mentioned the football program going in the right direction. Have they spoken with you or have you noticed some of the other defensive talent coming in with the 2014 class, Mike Mitchell, the former five-star linebacker transferring in, Breiden Fehoko, the four-star defensive tackle commit of the 2015 class... Have you noticed that?

Wilder: They have talked to me about it a little bit. They know they are light in some spots and they have told me about these signees and these commitments of where they are low right now and that's definitely a huge step in the right direction. You know they made the Top 10 for awhile in the season with players they didn't even recruit. I mean the fact that they were in that spot last year without any players they ever really coached up is a huge step, especially with the class that's coming in that they are recruiting.

Which camp this past week were you at down in the Houston area?

Wilder: It was the camp at Mercer Stadium.

I saw in an article that you were offered at a satellite camp last year. Is that correct?

Wilder: No sir. They offered me during my freshman year during our spring ball period.

The spring eval, I'm glad I asked you then.

What kind of reaction have you received from teammates, friends, Twitter and all since announcing last night?

Wilder: It's been all support. My support system here in Katy is just really amazing, I am truly blessed with that. Everybody is just so excited for me.
I have been getting phone calls, Twitter messages, I mean my phone has been blowing up. It's a big deal to me and I really appreciate all of the support I have gotten. It's been huge.
I saw you play as a freshman in the state title game there at Jerry World. Then looking at your sophomore film, I didn't get to see you in person last year, but it looks like you have gotten bigger, stronger, faster. How did you improve from your freshman to your sophomore year?

Wilder: A lot of it was bigger, stronger, faster of course, but the rest of it was just confidence and just picking up on reads and making sure that the game slows down for me. And the game slowed down last year a whole lot more than my freshman year. That caused me to pick up my own pace and I was able to get to the ball faster, I was able to see things before the play even began and just the amount of preparation last year before my games was 100 times better than my freshman year.

What are you working on right now? Where do you need to improve for your junior year?

Wilder: Where I

Collin Wilder is the first Texas Tech commit of the 2016 class.

need to improve is in my quickness, my speed and definitely my tackling. I tend to leave my feet before I even follow through with my tackle. Most of the time it works but on some great athletes that may not work. It's definitely following through with my tackles and of course getting bigger, faster and stronger. It's definitely the fundamentals; my pad level, keeping my head up when I tackle, those are the things I have to work on.

You know, you have played against some great athletes, some of the best that the state has to offer, obviously with you playing for Katy. What has it been like at such a young age playing against some of the best athletes in the state?

Wilder: Playing at such a high level in high school football is a lot of fun, because I am a competitor and I want to play against the best and I believe the best is in Texas. Playing at a high level in Texas makes it even better.

Who is the best offensive player you have faced?

Wilder: I believe the best offensive player I have played against is probably Cedar Hill's running back [Aca'cedric] Ware (a Tech offer).

Really? He's that good?

Yes sir. I mean people talk about DeMarkus Lodge all day long, I mean I left my feet on that one tackle and if I make that one tackle, no one hears about him in that (2013 Class 5A Division II state title) game. It was Ware their running back.

What made him so good? What about him?

Wilder: He was bigger than I expected him to be and he has a lot of endurance, He ran strong that entire game when we played them at state and he's a great downhill runner. He doesn't have a lot of moves, but he'll break your tackle if you're not careful and so I mean he's definitely my motivation for getting bigger because when I hit him he would fall forward for a yard or two. So yeah he's a great football player. Whoever picks him up in college--that's a big steal.

You mentioned improvements earlier, but from what I have seen you are good both in coverage and as a physical presence, a big hitter. How would you describe your game, what kind of a safety are you?

Wilder: I'm very physical. My strong suit is run defense, of course I'm good in pass coverage too, but I am really strong against the run. I'm a real aggressive safety. If you want me to play a nickel position that's fine too. I need to get better at my one-on-one coverage, but I would definitely describe myself as a real physical, downhill type of safety.

Is Tech talking about you playing free safety, strong safety or have they told you what they are thinking yet?

Wilder: They talked about free safety and they call it the Raider position.

Raider, that's a featured position in Tech's defense.

Wilder: Yes sir, that's fine with me. I feel like I would enjoy that position a lot.

It's a hybrid position, but have you played any linebacker before?

Wilder: In junior high I did. Where I play at Katy, I mean it's seven yards deep, sometimes even five so I'm down there low enough as it is already where I play and I know we play run first with our defense. The Raider position is totally cool with me.

Well Collin, is there anything I'm missing, anything else you would like to add?

Wilder: I'm just looking forward to these next two years and the years after high school. I just can't wait to be up there.

Alright. Thanks for your time and congratulations once again.

Wilder: Yes sir. Of course. Thank you.

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