Xavier Wade turned in an excellent junior season for the West Ottawa Panthers. An All-State selection, Wade caught 61 passes for 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns.
He has heard from a number of colleges, but his recruitment saw a major moment come over the weekend when the Eastern Michigan Eagles became the first school to offer him a scholarship.
"It was probably the coolest thing that's ever happened in my life," he said. "It was a true blessing."
The moment was even more special because Wade has been to Ypsilanti and sees what is being built there.
"I went to their junior day. It's a nice campus and they are about to rebuild buildings there, so that's exciting."
Panthers head coach Ryan Oshnock, who was once a coach at Eastern Michigan, is thrilled the Eagles saw the talent in Wade to extend an offer before any other school.
"I tip the hat to the evaluation of [head coach] Chris Creighton and [offensive coordinator] Aaron Keen and their evaluation of great high school football players in the state of Michigan," Oshnock says. "He had no other offers, and they're really evaluating tape. I give the guys a lot of credit for doing that. What does he run in the 40? That never came out of their mouth. For them to extend an offer says a lot about their ability to recruit, I think highly of them and I think they do a fantastic job."
Having coached at many different levels, Oshnock has had a chance to be around a lot of top talents, including at the receiver position, and he believes Wade is big time athlete.
"Xavier is an extremely hard working kid who also is very gifted athletically. When he runs, he floats, he kind of glides. What makes him a really good receiver is his willingness to learn, the way he tries to emulate some of the great wide receivers out there, Antonio Brown. That's who I tried to sell him on in this offense. We play him in the slot and it's the same system we ran when I was a graduate assistant at CMU and the same position Antonio Brown played.
"To me, you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg and he's going to get better and better and better. Couple that with -- he's a great basketball player -- he was just on a team that was 24-2 with a last second loss to Grand Rapids Christian, he was a starter on that team and one of the better players on the team. You look at the NFL, high college football, the great wide receivers were basketball players too. He's a great wide receiver and a great basketball player too."
Eastern Michigan recognized that, and both Wade and Oshnock are grateful for that. Even if more offers come, they will not forget that.
"It gives him confidence that D1 is where he belongs and I can see him carry himself with greater confidence," Oshnock says. "They're a bowl team. He's very excited. He liked the coaches. And your first offer is one you never forget."
He plans to hit several college summer camps, but is not certain which yet. He is also not certain about a spring visit schedule yet.