Sam Webb: Before we talk about recruiting, give some background on how the season went for you.
Wilton Speight: “It went really well. It went really well. We started out the season strong, getting a couple of wins. Then we had, early on in the season a huge game versus a team down the road… Benedictine high school. I think we ended up at the end of the season being one of their two or three losses. They got ranked up there pretty high, but they started winning games after we beat them. That was a huge win. Then we beat St. Christopher, who is right down the road, the last game of the season and made it to the playoffs. We ended up losing to the team that ended up winning the whole thing, but it was a great season. I had a lot of fun because winning is obviously the best thing you can do. So it was good.”
Sam Webb: What about your individual stats?
Wilton Speight: “I threw for 31 or 32 touchdowns, threw for 2800 yards, and 13 or 14 picks.”
Sam Webb: What are your measureables currently?
Wilton Speight: “I’m 6-6, 227-lbs. and I clocked a 4.72 at Virginia Tech’s football camp.”
Sam Webb: Now it’s time for a self-evaluation. Give me a scouting report. Or how about this… what have coaches told you they see when they look at Wilton Speight?
Wilton Speight: “I have a quarterbacks coach named Steve Clarkson that I work with. I’ve been with him for about a year and a half now. He is a private quarterback trainer in Los Angeles, California. So he and I have really nailed down my mechanics, footwork, and the mental aspect of the game as well. Since then I kind of got out of my raw stage of being a quarterback with a big arm into a guy that can read defenses, avoid the rush, and get the ball out on time properly. A couple of coaches have come in and said I remind them of a Philip Rivers. Obviously I don’t throw side-armed, so a little different than that. A lot of coaches have told me that my game kind of resembles Joe Flacco because he is 6-6 with a big arm as well."
Sam Webb: Let’s talk recruiting now. What does your scholarship picture look like?
Wilton Speight: “I actually haven’t gotten a scholarship offer yet. I reclassified as a junior again this year because I broke my collarbone the first game of my real junior season, so they didn’t get to see any film from that year. So all the coaches have said they wanted to make sure that I could get back and perform. I did so this season, so I’m expecting that as soon as this signing day comes and goes, everything will pick up. Michigan has really kind of picked up quicker than I expected.”
Sam Webb: So take me back to your Michigan visit during the fall. You were up for the Illinois game. What if anything stood out to you about that experience?
Wilton Speight: “Obviously when I was up there with my trainer I got to meet with the coaches for a while. One thing I took away, most importantly, is up there those coaches are some incredible guys. You go around to some places or when coaches come to you, you’re not sure if what they’re telling you is the truth or if you’re actually their guy…. But when you hear the words come out of the coach’s mouth up at Michigan you know it is 100% true. They’re just some first class coaches that are going to retire at Michigan whenever they decide to because they’re going to be there for a long time. So that was probably the most impactful thing from that weekend. But also the 105,000 or so people that are there cheering for you at the Big House is incredible. The facilities and the education I’d be getting there as well.”
Sam Webb: Clearly they showed some interest at that point, but things picked up significantly recently. Talk about that.
Wilton Speight: “Well they hadn’t been down this year until the other day. About three weeks ago I was just going through my contacts and calling all of the coaches and giving them updates on everything that has been happening. I called Coach Montgomery who had come to my school last spring ad he was like, “aw man it has been a while since we’ve talked.” He remembered me from the Illinois visit and meeting my parents. He said, ‘I’m going to talk to Coach Borges and get back to me in a little bit.’ I called Coach Borges, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it down because something came up I Ann Arbor, but he sent down his receivers coach, Coach Heck. He came down this past Friday and watched me workout before school.
Sam Webb: How do you think you did?
Wilton Speight: “I think I did really well. I threw about twenty passes. When I went over to talk to my coach, (Coach Hecklinski) was telling my coach… and my coach would later kind of tell me because (Hecklinski) didn’t want to break any rules or anything… he told my coach that I could have stopped after throwing five passes because he came down and saw what he needed to see and that everything he saw on film is what you get in person… which is what he was hoping for. So I think the trip down was well worth it for Coach and for me.”
Sam Webb: What have they said about a scholarship?
Wilton Speight: “He told my coach that day that it was between three guys Me, David Cornwell, and (Michael O’Connor), and (the Michigan staff) is going to meet on Monday. They still haven’t decided if they’re going to offer one or two or all three. I know a lot of media people have thought they were going to offer and make one of us commit on the spot, but that is not the case. My quarterback coach Steve Clarkson just called Al Borges. They go way back. They’ve been friends for about 20 years now. Coach Borges told Steve that he thinks they’re going to offer two maybe three and whoever decides to commit first is who they’re taking.”
Sam Webb: So kind of give me an idea about your decision process, starting with the factors that will go into your choice.
Wilton Speight: “Obviously the trust I have with the coaching staff, how I get along with the quarterback coach and the offensive coordinator. So far every coach that I’ve been recruited by is outstanding. I think I’m going to discuss with my family where I’ll be happiest for the next three, four, or five years of my life. I think it’s going to come down to what I think is best along with my parents and my coach. It has nothing to with who’s in the class ahead or a couple of classes ahead of me. I’m always up for competition for the starting job whether it with a two star or a five star. I just want to know that where I’ll go that I’ll be happy and that I’ll be able to play football.”
Sam Webb: What about distance from home? Will that be a factor for you?
Wilton Speight: “Not at all. I’m heavily considering USC, and that’s 3000 miles away. I make that trip out there a lot to train with Steve. So distance has nothing to do with it. As long as I’m happy and there’s football, it can be across the country and I’d have no problem with it.”
Sam Webb: What does your timeline for making a decision look like?
Wilton Speight: “I’m definitely not going to act on impulse with any school. Michigan is obviously a top program and you can’t really beat it with the pro-style offense and wanting to get the NFL after college. But I definitely don’t want to commit right away. I would like to consider all of my options and see other schools. But Michigan would be an ideal place and a great place for me to end up. Once I talk about making a decision with my parents and my coach I think I’ll decide where I want to go. There is no real timeline on it. It won’t be too long, but it won’t be right away either. Wherever I decide to go, I want to commit before my senior year. By the spring would be the best thing for me.”
Sam Webb: Aside from Michigan, who are some of the other schools that are really showing you a lot of interest at this point?
Sam Webb: Have any favorites emerged yet?
Wilton Speight: “I’ve always said that the first school to offer and trust that I can lead their program will really be a favorite. So Michigan is looking like that school so far. I get a lot of love from Alabama, USC, West Virginia, and Tennessee is a favorite of mine too. What’s key is whoever trusts me first. It’s a big step to offer a kid with no scholarship offers yet. Once an athlete gets an offer… I think everyone knows… they start rolling in. So the first one is the biggest to me.”
Sam Webb: What other schools have you taken visits to?
Wilton Speight: “I’ve taken visits so far to Alabama, Michigan obviously, USC, West Virginia, and I was trying to set up a visit to Auburn. Coach Loeffler, the offensive coordinator there really liked me at their camp, but everything that happened there was kind of crazy. Now that he is at Virginia Tech and I’m definitely going to go up there over the next few weeks to meet with him. There are plenty of schools that I’ve tried to see before everything comes off and it is time for me to make my decision. But there are still some other schools I’d like to see before I pull the trigger.”