Ladarius Wiley excited for Northwestern trip

Steven Goldstein with the latest on 3-star safety Ladarius Wiley...

Ladarius Wiley knows it's tough to beat California. Should the three-star Cathedral (Los Angeles) safety stick around his home turf, he'll be privy to good weather, good academics, and of course, good football. As Wiley readies for a decision this fall, he told PW Monday that he's receiving interest from Stanford, Cal and USC.

He also knows that an intriguing opportunity awaits halfway across the country.

"There would be more of an advantage going out of state," Wiley said. "You can't really beat staying home, but my parents are pushing me to go out of state and experience something new. That's why I want to go to Chicago."

Something new is an understatement. Wiley's longest and perhaps most important college visit would acquaint him with a culture worlds away from his native LA. It's something he looks forward to doing soon.

"Between this week and next I'll try to arrange a visit to Northwestern," he said. "As of now, in terms of my offers, Northwestern's on top."

Those offers also include Nevada, Fresno State and Cal Poly, though Wiley's garnered more attention from local programs this summer. He praised NU's prestigious academics and recent ascent into the national spotlight, but it's humility that catches his attention most. While most of his friends and teammates have already committed to schools, Wiley's just trying to keep a level head. Jerry Brown's made that easy for him.

"He's a really down-to-earth guy. We can talk about anything really. We joke around but we also talk about business," he said. "The whole process has been fun with Coach Brown, he's laid out the things I didn't understand."

Wiley's eager for a July visit to campus but won't slow his instate efforts. Mentioning that he felt he got "very close" to staff at a recent USC camp, Wiley plans to drive to Stanford and Cal's campuses before the end of the summer, the time when he hopes to make a commitment. It's that kind of persistence that Northwestern craves.

He's got the athleticism to back it up. Wiley's 4.57 40 speed, 6-1 frame and 10 receiving touchdowns as a junior helped propel his Phantoms to a 10-3 record. Experience on both sides of the ball plus membership in Cathedral's National Honor Society and student council make him a natural fit with the Wildcats.

"I've been a varsity captain since my freshman year," he said. "I'm really passionate, I really put all of myself into the game and even coach my teammates."

Pausing, he added, "I just like winning."

That's something Northwestern's been doing plenty of lately.

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