Regarded by many in the know, if not all, as the top prospect of the junior class in Ohio this year, Chris Wells (pictured,right) was in Ohio Stadium last Saturday on an unofficial visit watching the same two archenemies that will likely clash for his services until the very end, compete for a Big Ten victory. Both teams offered him a scholarship months ago.
"Everything went great and I liked the whole atmosphere down there, it was real nice," Wells said. "The game was so live down there. I had never been to a stadium that crazy. The whole time it was going crazy and I really liked it overall."
A physically imposing young man at 6-2, 225 pounds, Wells is a very polite and unassuming individual but he had no problem getting to know a few of the Ohio State recruits that were there on a visit as well.
"Some of the guys that were down there like Doug Worthington, Alex Boone and Kevin Bemoll were really nice. And I met Maurice Wells he was pretty nice," Chris Wells said. "But I liked Doug Worthington a lot, he had a nice personality. He's a really nice guy."
Wells made the visit with his mom and dad and he was very impressed with the atmosphere in and around Columbus from the outset.
"When I first got there the city was going crazy and all," he said. "It was nine o'clock in the morning when we first got there and I was just shocked to see that many people out and about that early in Columbus."
He first checked into the recruiting center at Ohio Stadium and signed in for game ticket purposes. Then he met the team and the players at the skull session which happens, like clockwork, two hours before game time. They met the team at the St. John Arena and walked in with them.
"(The skull session) was live! It was like a big-time basketball game in that gym with all of those people in there. It was so crowded, like a sellout for a basketball game," Wells said. "I was at one last year, it was at the home opener game but this one was crazy. It was way better than the one last year."
Wells moved on with the team as they made the walk to the stadium next.
"It just felt like I was a part of the team walking through it with them like that. Walking through the campus with them among all the fans, you just feel like a part of the team," he said. "Then we go back to recruiting room and we eat. And after we eat we go down and watch the warmups on the field. And then they take us to our seats."
It was during warmups when Wells started to get to know Worthington a little bit.
"When we were down there on the field watching warmups I was talking to Doug and he just seemed like he was a really cool guy," he said. "That was the first I met him. I had heard of him before but that was the first time that I met him."
And after getting to know guys like Boone and Bemoll a little better, Wells said it just might be interesting to run behind them.
"Them dudes are huge," he said. "It would be fun running behind them guys especially big Boone. I just said hello to (Boone). I think he kind of knew who I was but I introduced myself to him. I just said hello, we didn't talk much."
And there wasn't much recruitment talks between the players that Wells noticed other than from Brian Hartline.
"I've talked to him before and he always tells me that I should hurry up and commit to O-State because he loves it down there," Wells mentioned. "He always tells me what a good place it is to be."
Overall, Wells said he really enjoyed taking in the game and he was glad he was there.
"It was just a nice atmosphere to be around that day and it was crazy," he said. "That's really the only way that I can put it. It was crazy."
Did he find himself rooting for any certain team at any certain time during the game?
"I found myself kind of rooting for the Bucks because they had Antonio Pittman and Sian Cotton and they're hometown favorites around (Akron). So I was rooting for the Bucks," Wells said. "And then watching Ted Ginn do what he does, it's just real exciting watching him. It would be neat to play with all of those guys down there because they seem so close bonded, like a family down there."
So just where does he stand right now in the recruiting process?
"I think right now I'm still coming in between. I ain't leaning toward either one, it's that close," Wells said. "It's just right in between, right in the middle. Truthfully that's how I feel."
If Wells does enroll early as he plans to, his final decision will have to be determined around this time next year to get the academic part of the equation taken care of in time.
"This is really the time to start breaking it down and thinking about what I'm going to do and where I'm going to go," he said. "It's going to come down to what kind of players the team has and what the attitude of the coaches is. I want to be on a team that has encouraging players that will get on me when I need to be (gotten) on. I want to be got on knowing that they care and they're encouraging me, both the players and the coaches."
Wells intends to take a couple unofficial visits to a few schools in the summer to see what the coaching staffs are really like and how the individual programs all. And he said the talent that the respective teams have at running back could also influence his decision.
"That could effect it a whole lot and right now it's looking like Ohio State is stacked at running back," he said. "But I don't want to go to no place where I just walk in anyways. I want to go where there's some competition at, I don't just want to be a walk-in player, but if they have a whole lot of running backs it's going to play a major role."
When the time comes to make a decision Wells says he will sit down with his mom and dad, Paulette and James Wells, and maybe his coach at Garfield, Bob Sax. His father would like him to have a decision made this summer.
"He's not really forcing (the issue) but he would like it if I had a decision this summer so we can just not worry about recruiting during the season so we can just roll through it," Wells said. "I really don't know when I'll decide."
He did say that his parents really enjoyed the visit to Ohio State.
"My dad liked it a lot but my mom was crazy about it," Wells said. "She was just crazy about the whole experience and she told me it was the best game that she's ever been to. She loves the Buckeyes. If it was all up to her that's where I would be. My dad just wants me to get the education and he really doesn't care where I go."
Currently Wells is working in the weight room and concentrating on his books. He has a 3.0 GPA and scored a 16 last April on the ACT. He'll take it again in December.
"I'm just doing what I need to do for now," he said.