Chris Wells Is At The Top Of The Class In 2006

As long as Chris Wells has been known in the recruiting circles, Ohio State and Michigan have always been at the top of his wish list. Now there's another school involved that Wells thinks could be a major player as well. Could his final decision actually be somebody other than Ohio State or Michigan?

With national signing day 2005 now a thing of the past, all eyes, at least in Ohio, turn to the top of the 2006 class where Chris Wells of Akron Garfield High School resides.

Wells, who intends to enroll early at the school of his choice, was an anxious spectator on Wednesday as a few of his fellow Ram teammates signed their letters.

"I thought it was kind of exciting because everybody was out there signing today," said Wells while taking a break from his after-school lifting workout on Wednesday. "It's exciting and I'm just about ready for me to sign. And I'm ready for next season to start also."

Obviously Wells is astute enough to know that he is now the object of attention from both fans and college coaching staffs in Ohio and around the country.

"That makes me feel kind of good," said Wells who won't turn 17 years old until August. "There's no pressure on me at all, I just feel good about the whole situation with recruiting. I like it. I just look at it as positive publicity. I know most people say that it's a pain but I love it."

The constant smile on his face will tell you that he's just very thankful for the opportunity that is in front of him because, at one point in his young life, Wells never even imagined his circumstances turning out this way.

"I never thought that I was going to the center of attention in a positive way," Wells said. "I was always in trouble growing up so it's kind of crazy to see myself end up how I am now. Just from school and with the law and all that, I was really worried about my future. I almost ended up in jail when I was in the seventh grade and I got in trouble. I went to court and pretty much got scared straight. That's not somewhere that I want to be."

So his goals in his young life now are very simple and precise.

"I just want to play football and go to school, that's really it," Wells said. "I just want to play ball for a nice school and enjoy it."

He just doesn't exactly know which school it will be at on the next level as of signing day 2005. Just recently Wells added a new school to the mix.

"Right now I'm liking three major schools and I'm on them tough," he said. "I like Ohio State, Michigan and Oklahoma. I love those three schools to death and it's just pulling me."

Credit the emergence of Adrian Peterson on the national scene for Wells adding Oklahoma to his list.

"I love him to death. I love Adrian Peterson," he said. "I talked to Coach Gundy, the running backs coach, and he told me the whole situation down there about how they weren't getting that many running backs in and he offered me a scholarship. I just like the whole situation because just he's there. After I graduate I'll be a freshman and he'll be a junior, that's just a perfect situation to be in."

For the longest time however, it had been predominantly a two-horse race for Wells between Ohio State and Michigan.

"I still love those two schools to death and they're always going to be in the picture, regardless," Wells said. "Whatever schools come in there's always going to be Ohio State and Michigan there."

Wells seems to know a little bit about the depth chart at running back of those two schools. He also knows Ohio State didn't get that big back that they covet so much when Jason Gwaltney turned down the Buckeyes advances on the eve of signing day.

"Ohio State got small backs. I'm not downing them, they're all good talents but they're just small. Their backs are athletes but they're small. They don't have a big back right now," he said. "And Michigan has some pretty good backs too. They also have a small back in Michael Hart but he's good. It all depends on how big your heart is. Size doesn't matter."

At one time Wells was himself a proponent for Ohio kids staying in Ohio but he has now softened some on that stance.

I really don't think about it that much now," he said. "My mom is on me about it all the time, 'Ohio should stay in Ohio.' She wants me to go to Ohio State but she really likes Michigan too."

So what actually will be the major factor when it eventually becomes time for Wells to make his final decision?

"It will be all about the actual school itself and what the depth chart looks like will play a big role," he said. "I do want to play my freshman year, I don't want to sit the bench. It's going to be hard for me to sit the bench because I ain't never sat the bench in my life. That's going to be kind of hard so I just want to play."

And by enrolling in school early, Wells thinks that will give him a better chance to start or just to play at the school he eventually attends.

"I just want to go early so I can have a better advantage of playing as soon as I get there," he said. "I just want the chance to show them what I'm about and what I can do as soon as I get there."

Regardless of where his final destination will land him, Wells is looking forward to the ride that will take him there.

"I think my future is going to be bright and exciting to see," he said while flashing that wide smile again. "I can't wait for football season to start."

And then he went back to finish up his workout.

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