Wharton Ready for Official Visits

Kissimmee (Fla.) Gateway cornerback Isaiah Wharton added two offers and set a pair of official visits this week with Signing Day in sight. Preparing to officially visit Indiana and Rutgers, Wharton discussed his late-season recruitment surge.

Cornerback Isaiah Wharton considers himself a late bloomer, and BCS schools are taking notice just in time for National Signing Day. A top defensive back for Kissimmee (Fla.) Gateway this season, Wharton will officially visit Indiana Jan. 17 and Rutgers Jan. 24 with hopes of picking up offers from both.

Wharton has other options, including new offers from Wyoming and Coastal Carolina, but would love an opportunity to play in the Big Ten.

"I'm a good fit for the Big Ten, definitely," Wharton said. "I'm really versatile and I make plays. I can go 1-on-1 with anyone, even if it's in the Big Ten or the SEC.

"I know that from my experience this season. I think I can make plays as a true freshman. I've been in 7-on-7 groups against some of the top receivers in the nation – Ryan Sousa, Ermon Lane."

Wharton was a second-team all-state selection in Florida as a defensive back, where he picked off three passes and also put up 892 all-purpose yards offensively. Wharton committed and de-committed from Weber State during the season.

Rutgers came into the picture during December, he said, when defensive line coach Jim Panagos visited Gateway.

Wharton officially visits Rutgers Jan. 24.

"I've mostly just had contact with coach Panagos, but they'll be coming to my house this Thursday and see me at my school," Wharton said. "I know that they're moving to the Big Ten, and they play some really good football. Obviously Rutgers is going to have really good academics. It's just a blessing."

Wharton will be at Indiana this weekend, where he expects to receive a formal offer.

"Indiana pretty much told me that I had an offer and I just needed to get up there and see it," Wharton said. "I like that they're in the Big Ten, playing some good football. They have a good business program. The coaches came to see me at my school. They were really cool guys. The way they talk to me, they seem like I can fit in right away."

Wharton plans to focus on finding the place where he best fits socially on his upcoming visits, with a key on education.

"I'm looking for a group of guys that I can call my brothers and coaches that I look at as father figures, like a family-oriented program," Wharton said. "High morals, high character is big because it's where I'm going to be living the next four years of my life. I need to be able to be comfortable around them."

Wharton said he is thankful for the late interest, crediting a strong senior season against top Florida talent.

"That really put a big chip on my shoulder," said Wharton, who checks in at 6-foot, 180 pounds. "My team faces guys that are going to Florida or LSU or Florida State. I held my own against these guys. I've been working really hard, and I know I can compete at that level. This year, I finally got to guard some of the top guys and I did pretty well."

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