Canes could be on verge of big commitment

Jared Wheeler has been one of the state's most heavily recruited offensive line prospects this year and he recently narrowed his list down. There is news to report on the Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage standout and has all the details.

Jared Wheeler is a three-star offensive line prospect who is ready to announce his college decision. We caught up with his father, Jim, on Monday night to discuss it.

"Everything's going good and Jared's ready to get this thing out of the way," Jim Wheeler said. "He's going on 790 The Ticket this Saturday morning at 11:30 to announce his decision. That's when everyone will find out where he's going."

Wheeler, 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, has narrowed his list down to just two schools after sorting through a large number of offers.

"He's got it down to Miami and Vanderbilt," his father said. "Those are the two finalists. They're the two schools he really liked all along."

Mr. Wheeler talked about what his son liked about each of those two schools.

Miami: "You know, it's funny, back in the spring when all of this recruiting stuff was heating up for him, he had Miami about sixth or seventh on his list. He was looking at Florida, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, a few other schools. Coach Stoutland started recruiting him real hard and the two of them really hit it off. We took an unofficial visit to the school over the summer and really enjoyed it. We met and spoke to the president of the school, Donna Shalala. It was pretty wild. Jared got a chance to sit in her cabinet chair. I said to him, "don't break it" because Jared's a big guy. It was a real fun meeting. We spoke to the head of engineering, which was nice. What Jared thought was really cool is how all the meeting rooms are named after NFL players. They have the Clinton Portis room, the McGahee room. It's like an NFL training camp there during the summers because of how so many NFL players go back and train there. That was pretty impressive."

Mr. Wheeler said Miami actually started recruiting his son during his junior year. He shared the story of how it started.

"Stoutland came to watch Jeremy Longo, the defensive end from Cardinal Gibbons that year," he said. "Jared was still at Hollywood Hills at that time. The game started and Jared manhandled him. Stoutland went back and told Coach Shannon about it and said they better offer him now. It took a little while for it to happen but we got it. Les Miles from LSU was actually the first school to send Jared an official offer."

Vanderbilt: "When he went on his official visit there, he really liked the engineering program. Everyone on the team was very friendly. Coach Johnson is a tremendous person. Values are real important to him. It's like a real nice family up there. He liked the weight room a lot and hit it off with the strength coach pretty well. ESPN was there doing Gameday when he went so that was nice. He had a chance to hang out with the players and just had a great time. Vanderbilt's a great opportunity. Miami's about a 180,000 dollar degree but Vanderbilt's probably a 200,000 dollar degree."

Wheeler narrowed his list down to two after having several schools on it early in the process.

"We just trimmed it down as we went," Jim Wheeler said. "He had offers from LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Louisville, Florida, Florida State, UCF, USF, a lot of them. He actually started out this whole process favoring Florida. He has a sister there and that was his number one choice in the beginning. Coach Adazzio offered him in the spring. He came down and did it one day and then called me right after he did it. I told him at the time that we wanted to take some visits to make sure we knew what was out there. Then after about the second game of the season, right after the Miami game, Florida stopped calling. They wouldn't return my calls so I guess they got some other offensive linemen they wanted."

Wheeler's first official visit this past season went to Auburn. Mr. Wheeler talked about that situation.

"He really liked Auburn and they were high on his list from the start," he said. "But when Coach Tuberville left, he dropped Auburn after that. Our next visit was to Vanderbilt and he's going to Miami on January 23rd."

Stay tuned to for analysis on Wheeler's commitment on Saturday morning.

Note: Wheeler played in the state All-Star game a couple weeks ago and was there for it. We'll have video coverage of Wheeler playing in that game posted sometime in the next few days.

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