Each time Reese Morgan visited West Des Moines (IA) Dowling Catholic during the last year he asked for Nick Wilson's patience and trust. Boy, did the Iowa assistant ever mean it.
The Hawkeyes waited until this weekend's official visit by the senior outside linebacker before offering him a scholarship. Wilson accepted it, flipping from a Western Illinois pledge he made in December.
Recruits across the country, every year, hear requests to "hang in there." For many of them, the offer never comes.
Wilson remained hopeful, knowing, ultimately, it was out of his hands.
"What really helped was when Coach Morgan came into see me at school he always said to just have faith in him and trust that it will all work out. There had been plenty of guys in my situation and it worked out for them. It could have not worked out but I'm glad it did. I was just listening to Coach Morgan and decided to be patient and not lose hope or focus on the whole process," Wilson said.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Wilson recorded 51 tackles (39 solo, 3 for loss) this fall for Dowling, who won its second Class 4A state championship in a row. He also intercepted three passes in earning Iowa Newspaper Association first-team all-state honors as a defensive back.
Wilson played safety for the Maroons. The Iowa coaches have told him he'll start out at LEO linebacker, where coverage skills are important.
"The positions are actually pretty similar as far as what movements you're doing. I just need to add some size and get a little quicker and get used to the different reads and what I need to be looking for. I've changed positions before so I don't think I'll have a problem with it," he said.
In addition to fitting in on the field, Wilson received comfort that he'll work out as a member of the team.
"I had a good time with the players and the coaches. It felt natural. It felt like a family atmosphere. I feel like I won't have a problem being here next year," he said.
Wilson joins Dowling teammate Ryan Boyle, a quarterback, in Iowa's Class of 2015. The group is at 20 known verbal commitments.
"He was excited. He can't wait for us to be in Iowa City together," Wilson said.
With signing day coming up on Wednesday, Wilson knew this weekend's Iowa official visit likely was his last chance at realizing his dream of playing for the Hawkeyes. Head Coach Kirk Ferentz put his mind at ease early in the trip.
"When I got here, I had a good feeling that I was going to get the scholarship. Coach (Kirk) Ferentz ended up offering me (Saturday) before the Wisconsin basketball game. He told me to just enjoy the weekend. I'd be getting a scholarship. I was able to relax and just take it all in and enjoy being on the visit," Wilson said.
After saying yes to Iowa, Wilson reached out to Western Illinois. He told the Leatherneck coaches that he would be switching his commitment.
"They were really good about it. We had the conversation multiple times about this situation if it came up. They knew that if this would happen that I would be most likely going to Iowa. They were happy for me and supportive. It wasn't as hard of a phone call as I expected it to be but it was still pretty hard telling them that I wasn't coming there after being committed for a while," Wilson said.