Sam Webb: Let’s start off first talking about the season. How do you think things went?
Wilton Speight: “Yeah, my dad and I were just actually talking about that. Going into the season… we lost a ton of really talented seniors last year… myself along with some of our coaches and pretty much the whole school community didn’t think it was going to be as good of a season as it was last year. I think we just thought best to take it one week at a time and we ended up getting all the way to the state championship game, which was obviously better than last year. So, it is a great, great season. The team was very special and it was a good way to go out.”
Sam Webb: So where do you think you were better… what parts of your game? Was it anything physical? Was it just leadership?
Wilton Speight: “I pretty much had improved on everything last year from leadership, the ability to not only lead the guys on Friday or Saturday, whichever day game day was on but you know, the Sunday film, the Monday through Thursday preparation, just taking every practice as seriously as possible, treating it like a game situation. I am getting everyone along with myself prepared for the big game that week. I think the way I prepare for each game, the amount of film I watch, and the decisions I made on the field were, you know, drastically improved from last year.”
Sam Webb: Do you know what your stats were from the season?
Wilton Speight: “Yeah, I threw for, including the benefit game, 3,034 yards, 34 touchdowns, and I think 11 or 12 picks.”
Sam Webb: Looking at your future team, obviously Michigan had its ups and downs. There were other schools that certainly used that as an opportunity to kind of recruit the guys who were already committed to Michigan. Did you experience that? Did you ever have second thoughts?
Wilton Speight: “I personally never had a second thought. You know, there were coaches who would come into the school, say things to my head coach. Obviously my head coach would just tell them, ‘Look, he is 100% committed, he has got no time for any other school.’ I told them that I completely agreed with that and I prefer if he said that. Yeah, I would get direct messages on Twitter and phone calls once a week and things of that nature, saying, hey they are down right now, we are on the rise, come help us out and stuff like that. This year, it was a young football team that had some growing pains here and there, but you definitely saw a lot of upside and a bright future and our 2014 team class has done a great job at staying in touch every day and just reminding each other that we are going to and help be the answer and contribute as much to the program as we can to make an impact as early as possible.”
Sam Webb: That is a great segue, because that is what I was going to ask you next. Did you ever sense in talking to the other guys that any of them were having second thoughts? Did you sense that the conversations between you guys were maybe helping them stick with Michigan?
Wilton Speight: “Absolutely, and it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just Michael Ferns, us being the two guys who kind of kick started the whole class. It was Drake Harris, Mo Ways, Chase Winovich, tons of guys. Pretty much everybody at one point or another wrote in the group chat and said, ‘guys look, you can listen to the fans if you really want to, but we know what is going on. The coaches talk to us pretty much daily and we know that if we stick together and do what we need to do next year and down the road, we won’t have this type of season that Michigan had this year.’ So, I think it helped a lot just being able to communicate and it really helped us stay together.”
Sam Webb: You mentioned the concern over what the fans are saying. How much do you guys really see that? Does what they say really affect you?
Wilton Speight: “It is kind of an interesting situation just because it is a little bit disheartening to see fans who call themselves very loyal and devoted to the program kind of sit there and bash what is going on in the locker room and on the field and it seems like everybody has a better idea of what to do with the team than the coaches do… which is clearly just not true. So I really did not pay attention to that as much. I know there were some people who did in our class. At the same time, I guess the bright side of that aspect is that if they are struggling, fans will say, ‘oh my gosh, we really need so and so,’ and tag them in a tweet… and the fans will be positive with the recruits coming in. So it is kind of a positive thing in some aspects. But at the same time, it is not a very good situation.”
Sam Webb: What kind of impact does it have, if any?
Wilton Speight: “Well it depends. If the secondary, receivers, or anyone is struggling on the football team at Michigan, the fans all tweet, ‘oh my gosh we really need Drake Harris, or Mo Ways, or Jabrill Peppers, or Michael Ferns,’ or whoever it may be. I guess those guys or I will see that and they are like, ‘look at these fans, they already know we are coming in.’ That is pretty cool. Then again, you see people with the Twitter handle tweeting at you, ‘fire Al Borges’, or ‘Coach Hoke is not the answer’. That is the name of their twitter. You see that and you are like, that is kind of stupid but that is where you have to leave it. You can’t say, ‘oh my gosh, does this fan really know what is going on? Is Al Borges not going to be there next year?’ You can’t listen to people like that on who have no idea what they are talking about. You just have to trust the coaches that you committed to and put 100% of your trust in and just know that you are going to go and solve some problems.”