GoBlueWolverine spoke to Sean Finnerty, head coach of Wyatt Teller at Bealeton (VA) Liberty.
Sam Webb: Take me back to last season. How did Wyatt do on the football field?
Sean Finnerty: "Well Wyatt had just under 150 tackles last year. We put him at middle linebacker for two games—we were weak at middle linebacker and we wanted to put in him a position where teams couldn't run away from him—but his best position is defensive end, and he just has an unbelievable motor. That's how he gets so many tackles. You know he's 6'5" with extremely wide wingspan where you know he can scratch his knee without bending over. So he is able to get his hand on a lot of ball carriers. You know he had two interceptions from the defensive end position, just jumping up and snagging the ball... you know he had many deflections. I believe he ended up with ten sacks, which was actually less than what he had as a sophomore and that was just because teams got rid of the ball a lot quicker because of him. He got double teamed, he got chipped, and that's the only reason why his sack total went down."
Sam Webb: What position do you think he projects best to in college… on offense or defense?
Sean Finnerty: "Well I guess depending on the university they have a different opinion. Some universities, they have him as a defensive end, you know, where he's been playing now. But because of his frame, I mean he is 6'5" and 265 pounds right now, and he can put on a lot of weight, so a lot of people see him playing defensive tackle position. You know, he doesn't have that—and he might get there—but he doesn't have that 4.8 40 which a lot of teams want from their defensive end. So he might end up going to a defensive tackle position. And then there are teams like South Carolina who only offered him as an offensive tackle. And if you see his highlights sometimes his offensive line highlights are almost better than his defensive end highlights. You know the way he latches on to a guy and runs the guy 20 yards downfield before he finishes the block."
Sam Webb: When you talked to Michigan about him, what did they say about where they project him?
Sean Finnerty: "I believe Michigan sees him as playing more of a three-tech, you know, more of a defensive tackle position. Get him up to 285, 290. You know being able to be that size and playing that defensive tackle position for them."
Sam Webb: When I talked to him he talked about having a familiarity with the Virginia schools... Virginia, Virginia Tech. Over the course of the last few months, has he had an opportunity to make it out to any other schools to get more familiar with those programs?
Sean Finnerty: "That's what he hasn't been able to do yet based on schedule. This weekend, two schools that him and I were going to see were Michigan and Notre Dame. He's seen Columbus. The economic right now… he's not going to be able to go see Oregon. He can't get across the country. And later in April I think they're going to go on a south swing for a weekend where I believe he's going to go see South Carolina, Tennessee, maybe North Carolina, or NC State if they have time. But yeah, he hasn't been able to see the other schools and what they have to offer. In the fall he saw Penn State, he saw Alabama, he saw Duke's facility, Penn State's facility, so he's seen some other places but no spring practice other than Virginia."
Sam Webb: Gotcha. So he is missing Michigan and Notre Dame this time around. Are those visits that he thinks he'll reschedule in the fall? Maybe as an official visits?
Sean Finnerty: "Official visits, those don't start you know until his senior year. He'll get the five official visits. And I would think Notre Dame and Michigan would fall into those official visits. But obviously some players like to commit before their senior year, and if that was the case then he wouldn't get those official visits. So hopefully we can reschedule where I can take him, or his parents can take him, on a northern swing and try to get to Michigan and Notre Dame so he can see the facilities before the summer. That would be the best case scenario."
Sam Webb: So do you think at this point that his preference is to make a decision prior to his senior year or is that just something that he's playing by ear at this point?
Sean Finnerty: "He's playing it by ear. It obviously would be easier on him if he made it earlier so he can kind of focus on what was at hand. But also, he knows it's a big decision and he knows how important those official visits are in the fall. So it's definitely something he's weighing back and forth."
Sam Webb: From your interaction with the Michigan coaches you've talked to, what are your impressions of the Wolverines?
Sean Finnerty: "Well you know it's funny, I grew up in Ohio. So obviously I grew up a Buckeyes fan, and you always have that Ohio State, Michigan rivalry. But I have enjoyed dealing with Michigan's coaches—they have been great, they've been very excited in their dealings with Wyatt, and they've been very helpful. And they've shown their interest and have been very personable. One of the first times that I talked to the recruiting coach that was talking to Wyatt, he was able to get Coach Hoke on the phone and Coach Hoke talked to Wyatt personally, and I think that's important for a Head Coach to show that importance in a kid if they really want him. I've had a great relationship with Michigan so far."
Sam Webb: Now you said he'd been to Columbus. Did you take the trip up to Ohio State with Wyatt or is that one that he took without you?
Sean Finnerty: "No, they were visiting family up around the Columbus area, so he and his father went to Columbus."
Sam Webb: Have the Buckeyes offered him yet?
Sean Finnerty: "The Buckeyes have not officially offered him yet, no."
Sam Webb: But they are showing interest?
Sean Finnerty: "Yes, they are showing a lot of interest but they have not offered yet. I guess the biggest schools that have offered Wyatt are Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina... you know and then most of the ACC. He's close to 15 offers."
Sam Webb: When you counsel him about this recruiting process, what are the things that you're telling him should be the most significant factors in his choice?
Sean Finnerty: "One aspect of Wyatt is, he's just under a 4.0 student, so academics are very important to him. Then, how comfortable he feels at that school and how comfortable he feels with the coaches and the program. Then I know it's important to him when he can play—if he sees that he can play at an earlier age, that's a big factor for him. He's a kid that wants to be on the field, I mean I know all kids are like that. But some kids are okay with sitting three years before they get their time, Wyatt would not be okay with that... Wyatt wants to play and he wants to play early."
Sam Webb: Do you think that distance from home is going to be a major factor for him?
Sean Finnerty: "If he chose a school like a Michigan or Notre Dame, I don't think for him it would be a big deal. I think he'd be okay being that far from home. Right now it's playing a factor because he can't get there to see them. But in the actual world, and as an actual student athlete I don't think that would be a big factor. Oregon, maybe... Florida, maybe... but he can make a trip to the North and Midwest and I think the family would be okay and they would sort him with that.
Sam Webb: He told me that was a Virginia Tech fan growing up. Is it the case that that familiarity and proximity give Virginia and Virginia Tech having a leg up right now? Or do you think it truly is wide open at this point?
Sean Finnerty: "The Virginia schools have a leg up just because of his familiarity with them, with their coaching staffs. You know, UVA for example are huge fans of Wyatt and they're trying to do everything they can to stay up in Wyatt's wheelhouse. Obviously kids enjoy attention. And just with being able to on a Saturday afternoon to drive down to see these schools practice is a big factor. So I believe that they do have a leg up, but schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, and South Carolina are close twos or close threes, whatever way you want to look at it."
Teller trying to get in unofficial visits
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