Wells Gives the Latest

We're less than a month away from National Signing Day, but it's never too early to look ahead to 2006. The top junior in Ohio is Akron Garfield running back Chris Wells. We caught up with him recently for the latest on his situation.

He's considered the No. 1 running back in the state, but he's taking it all in stride.

Akron Garfield junior Chris Wells rushed for 1,939 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2004. He averaged 9.1 yards per carry and established himself as one of the top prospects in the nation.

"This year, he had a great season for us," Garfield coach Bob Sax said. "I wouldn't say he exceeded expectations, because we expected him to have a great year. He's a special athlete."

Garfield finished 8-3, including a 27-21 loss to Copley in the first round of the Division II state playoffs. Wells erupted for 237 yards and two scores on 22 carries in his lone postseason game.

The 6-1, 228-pound Wells will likely choose between Ohio State and Michigan next year. He could have his pick of any school in the nation, but wants to stay close to home.

"Yeah, right now, it's just Ohio State and Michigan," Wells said.

But Wells does not favor one school over the other at this point.

"It's pretty even," he said.

Wells intends to make his decision sometime during the summer, possibly at a football camp. But whatever happens, he will not wait all the way until National Signing Day in 2006.

"I definitely want to pick a school before my senior season starts," Wells said. "I plan on graduating early so I can go through spring ball in college."

Wells watched Ohio State's 33-7 victory over Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl and came away with a few impressions.

"Yeah, I watched the game and stuff," he said. "They played great. I saw they're losing a lot of running backs and stuff, which I already knew.

"And Ted Ginn was something else in that game. He played a real good game."

Wells also watched Michigan's 38-37 loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl.

"Yeah, that was a good game," he said. "I was rooting for Michigan, but they couldn't hold on."

Ohio State's coaches have kept in close contact with Wells.

"They've called and I get a lot of mail from them," Wells said. "I talk to Coach (Jim) Bollman and Dick Tressel most often. They're pretty nice. I like those guys."

The Buckeyes are losing Branden Joe, Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall to graduation this year. They currently have just two scholarship running backs on the roster for 2005: Antonio Pittman and Erik Haw.

Wells was asked if OSU's lack of depth at running back could impact his decision.

"It kind of does, because I do want to play as a freshman," he said. "But they still have good backs with Pittman and the other guy."

Wells and Pittman know a lot about each other. Pittman prepped at nearby Buchtel High School.

"Yeah, I played against him," Wells said. "He was a good back in high school, and I thought he played good this year at O-State."

Wells was in Ohio Stadium for OSU's 37-21 win over Michigan.

"This year, my only time going down there was for the Ohio State-Michigan game," he said. "I knew it was a really big deal, but I was surprised at how many people there were and how pumped up everyone was. I mean, I got down there at 9 (a.m.) and everyone was going crazy. It was a good time."

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