Two-way Florida star excited about NU offer

Going into your senior year is usually the time where urgency is the theme and your team is simply trying to get better. Coming off a state title, St Augustine high school in St. Augustine, Florida is trying to stay the same. One of those stars leading the way will be two-way star Rai-Shawn Wilson, who has gained in popularity recently, punctuated by an offer from the big red. Wilson talked about that offer and just what he thinks about what he'd like to do in the future.

It's a commonplace thing to see Nebraska go after kids on the west coast, the east coast and anywhere in-between. They even head farther up north into Canada and have gone as far as Germany at times. It's how you recruit when you are in the Midwest and your population base isn't such that you have the pick of the litter around you.

The problem after the offer, though, is convincing kids to come sometimes thousands of miles to play at a place where they are met with sometimes bitter cold, sometimes sweltering heat and everything else in between.

For St. Augustine high school standout Rai-Shawn Wilson, when he received the offer from Nebraska, weather wasn't going to be an issue at all. "To be honest, I hate the heat," Wilson said of the often sultry weather in the sunshine state. "I just don't like it so I don't mind at all the thought of heading someplace else."

Nobody commits because of the weather, though, or at least, nobody with any common sense. So when Nebraska's offer came, it was more than the weather that crossed his mind. "They've got a good offense, I know that," Rai-Shawn said. "I don't know a lot about Nebraska, but I have talked to coach Blake (Defensive line coach John Blake) a bunch of times and he seems like a really nice guy."

The offense might make a difference for Wilson if he chooses to play that side of the ball. One could hardly blame him, the 5 foot, 10 inch, 190 pound back rushing for over 1,000 yards last year as his team went onto win the state title. In addition, Wilson has posted blazing times in the 40, Wilson saying that he's consistently in the 4.4 range, but was once timed running a 4.32.

But Wilson is starting to think that while Nebraska has offered him as a running back, as has Illinois, he could be leaning toward doing in college what he likes doing the most in high school. "I like to hit people," Wilson said. "I remember a hit I put on a guy, I hit him so hard, the padding came up from under his pads. I love watching players like Sean Taylor, so it would be pretty nice to play that safety in college."

Georgia is one of the schools recruiting Wilson as both a running back and a safety, but Wilson said that position will ultimately have little effect on just where he decides to go. "What I want to do is to help the team and get out there quickly if I can," he said. "If they need me at running back, that's where I'll go. If they need me at safety, that's where I'll go."

"I'm a lot more interested in helping the team win than I am helping myself. I want to do whatever it takes to win."

There's another factor in regard to geography, which Wilson said could play a factor in the end. And it's one that you might consider ironic for a young man growing up in the sunshine state. All that weather, all the limelight – it appeals to some, but Wilson said that he'd just as soon see something a little more low key.

"I don't like all this big life, big city stuff," he said. "I'm kind of a low key guy and I am not really looking to go to someplace, where it's all about what's going on outside of campus and all that."

"I'm there to get my education and hopefully play some football. I don't need much more than that."

What Wilson does need from his school of the future is a place that feels like home. Maybe not the weather and maybe not the limelight, but it's got to have that feeling, that he only needs to turn around and someone close to him is there. "I want to know that wherever I go, the coaches are there for you no matter what," Wilson said. "If I am having a bad day, there are there for you. Maybe I just need to talk.. Well, they are there for you for that."

"If you are a long ways from home or even if you are close, it's just nice to know that you are surrounded by people, who make it feel like you are in another part of your family."

Nebraska obviously ranks up toward the top as one of his favorites, joining Illinois, those two teams making up the offers he has thus far. And there are too many schools to even name, according to Wilson, that he's looking at as well.

His hope is that over the summer, when he's not attending the various summer camps, he'll get a chance to get out of state and see some of those schools he's only gotten to know just so well. "I'd like to see Nebraska, of course, because I need to get to know them a lot better," Rai-Shawn said. "There's only so much you can learn from a phone call, so it's important to see what it's all about."

"I don't know when I'll make my decision, maybe after the state title game, if we make it back there again this year. After that, I'd really like to have a decision."

Wilson said that there is no dream school, who if they offered, that's where he'd go. He also said that east coast or west coast, north or south, he's not against going anywhere he feels is the place to be. So, it literally is wide open, but it's the early schools which will make the biggest dent for him, which he takes into account. In the end, the relationships are key.

"You have to be able to believe the coach recruiting you and have to know you can trust them," Wilson said. "You only get that with time. The longer I get to know a coach, I guess that would be better for both of us, because I know them better and they know me better."

"To be honest, I haven't really thought too much about recruiting right now, because I am more concerned about the season. After that, though, I'll get it all figured out."

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