After taking official visits to Auburn and Vanderbilt, Wheeler cut his list down to Vanderbilt and Miami and on Saturday morning, Wheeler ended the recruiting process by announcing his commitment to the Hurricanes.
"I want to stay home with my family and go to UM," Wheeler said.
Wheeler, 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, didn't come easy for the Hurricanes and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. Jim Wheeler, Jared's father, talked about the ground Miami made up and how it happened.
"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," Mr. Wheeler said. "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."
Once Stoutland and Wheeler had started to develop a good relationship, the Wheeler family took an unofficial visit to Miami over the summer.
"We really enjoyed it," Mr. Wheeler said. "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. 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."
While LSU was first and over 20 other schools soon followed, it was Miami that won out in the end.
"I know UM, they have all those guys from Northwestern from last year. [Miami is] on the rise, and I want to be a part of that. I'm going to work as hard as I can and if I can't start, I'll help the starters."
Wheeler becomes Miami's fourth offensive line commitment this year and its eighth from the south Florida area. Stay tuned for more analysis of Wheeler's commitment and what it means to an already strong Miami recruiting class that added a pair of four-star players (Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye) last Sunday.
<---- Wheeler's game highlights vs. eventual state champion Jacksonville Bolles (09/08)
<---- Wheeler's game highlights from the state all-star game (12/08)