Wilson talks to LSU's coaches

When Reggie Wilson moved from the Ivory Coast to Haltom City, Texas before his sixth grade year he signed up to play football. Little he did know that the extracurricular activity that he signed up for was a little different than the one he excelled in as a kid in West Africa.

“It’s amazing because when I was growing up I was like the best soccer player in my area, so coming to America I thought I was going to play major league soccer,” Wilson said. “When I got here and I signed up for football, I did it by mistake. Soccer in Africa is called football so that’s what I signed up for, but they put me in American football.


“The football I’m playing now was by mistake,” he added with a laugh. “There I  was thinking I’m going to play soccer and now I may have a chance to play professional football one day. It’s crazy man.”


Wilson may have started playing on the gridiron by mistake, but it didn’t take long for him to catch on.


“I started playing and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I started playing running back and for my seventh and eighth grade year I stayed there and that was pretty easy because all I had to do was run to the other endzone.”


Wilson, who now stands at six-foot-three, 240 pounds and reports a 4.7 40-yard dash, was bigger than most of the freshmen he played with when he got to Haltom High School. It didn’t take long for head coach Scott Hafley to see that Wilson had a special talent.


"Coaches can work a lot of years and not coach someone with this much talent," Hafley told TigerSportsDigest.com in November. "When he plays the game he plays it with a great amount of passion. He is not just a gamer, because he has things turned on every day of the week. This is the caliber of kid that will play at the NFL level. He is that good."


Wilson said that he played some on the offensive line and came off the edge on defense during his sophomore year, and that was when everyone else recognized what Hafley had seen. The standout performer logged 80 tackles and six sacks, and was named the 5-5A Sophomore of the Year.


That opened up the floodgates for when college coaches could begin officially contacting 2010 prospects last September and Wilson landed several early offers.


Wilson followed that up with another outstanding season as a junior where he was in on 87 tackles with 12 for loss, and registered nine sacks in the Buffaloes disappointing 2-8 campaign.


That has sent even more offers his way and the number has grown so much to where Wilson can’t even keep count.


“A lot of good schools have offered and pretty much every school I can think of has offered me,” he said. “All of these big schools in the SEC, ACC, Big 12 have offered, and honestly, I don’t know what to do.”

Reggie Wilson is one of the top defensive ends in the country for 2010 and one of the top overall targets for LSU

One of the many schools that have offered Wilson, who says his offer total is somewhere in the neighborhood of 40, is LSU.


Wilson actually got to speak with several of LSU’s coaches on Monday as head coach Les Miles, defensive coordinator John Chavis, defensive line coach Brick Haley and wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy all expressed their strong interest.


“I spoke with the head coach and all of the defensive coaches on Monday,” said Wilson, who holds offers from the likes of LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida, USC and many others. “They passed the phone around and I also talked to the coach in my area.


“They were saying how they watched me on film and how they need a guy like me that can play hard. They were just telling me to keep working hard in the classroom and to work hard for my coaching staff. They said that whenever I’m ready I have a place waiting on me.”


The opportunity to get to talk to LSU’s coaches was a positive step for both parties. With Wilson being from another country and having only a small family here in America, he cares about much more than wins and losses on the field.


“If I had grown up here and I had a favorite university growing up then it would all be over,” Wilson said. “I would have committed. But, I honestly don’t have a favorite school so I have a list of questions that I will ask coaches and that will help me feel comfortable with a school.”


Feeling comfortable with a school is important to Wilson considering all of the trials and tribunes he has had to deal with during his childhood.


The country he grew up in was one that has been entrenched in constant conflict and was on the brink of civil war back in 2003. Then when his father had a stroke, Wilson’s mother decided it was time to get her husband the best medical care she could give him, while at the same time giving her son a chance to get away from the conflict and get an education that will help him fulfill his dreams in life.


All of that combined has given Wilson a different perspective on the recruiting process and he has formed a list of questions that he will ask coaches that will help him with one of the biggest decisions he will have to make. 


“Do you take time to talk to your players when they are having a bad day? What is the best thing about your school? What are you going to provide for me when I’m not playing football such as help with my studies? How do the players get along with the coaches? It’s really questions like that to make me feel comfortable,” Wilson said. “The school I choose is going to be a home away from home and that is kind of scary for a kid from Africa that goes to a different environment and leaves mom and dad at home.”


As for where that school will be? Well, Wilson hasn’t even begun to put a lot of thought into that.


He admits that he is still in awe by the amount of attention that he has gotten, but did say that he likes what he’s heard from LSU.


“They were pretty excited about me and I said if they’re fired up about me then that’s a good thing,” he said. “I don’t know a lot about LSU, but I know they won a national championship. If you win a national championship then you obviously have good players and do the right things. I hear good things about them and I want to get down there to see for myself. It’s kind of hard with my mom working, but I’ll get there at some point.”

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