Shaq Breaks It Down

First Coast (Jacksonville, FL) standout linebacker Shaq Wilson is one of the top defensive prospects in the Sunshine State this year, and the athletic playmaker already has eight offers to his credit. With the linebacker position being a priority for South Carolina in the 2008 recruiting class, where do the Gamecocks stand with this top defensive target? Read inside to find out.

The 6'1, 210 pound Wilson, who racked up 132 tackles, 9 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles as a junior last season, said the recruiting process is off to a good start for him.

"Recruiting is going real good. I'm just taking it all in and trying to learn about each school," said Wilson. "So far my offers are USF, South Carolina, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Illinois, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Maryland. Florida State and Miami are both saying they're close to offering too."

Wilson is cautious of naming a clearcut favorite this early in the recruiting process, but he said one team is beginning to separate itself from the rest of the pack.

"Right now, South Carolina stands out a lot. I really like them. I like Georgia Tech because of their academics and Ole Miss and Minnesota too. Florida State has always been one of my favorite teams, but right now I'd say South Carolina is up there because they offered me in the tenth grade. I don‘t really have a number one school, but South Carolina is probably in the lead right now."

The Sunshine State standout has only visited South Carolina once, but he came back from that trip with a very good impression of the Gamecock program.

"I went there my tenth grade year in summer camp. I got offered there when I was at the camp. When I was there, they showed us the football stadium and the locker rooms and everything. They have nice facilities, and the coaches are real up front with you. Coach Spurrier is really like a father type, trying to let you know what goes on at their school if you decide to go there."

According to Wilson, he has also built a strong relationship with his Gamecock recruiter.

"My South Carolina recruiter is Steve Spurrier Jr. He's a great person. He talks about personal stuff too. He's always asking me how I'm doing and how my schoolwork is going. He asks me about my grades to make sure I'll be ready to go for college. Right now I've got a 3.5 (GPA), and I already passed the ACT. I got an 18 on the ACT, so he knows I'm already qualified. He's talking to see if I can take an extra English class before next year so I can see if I can try to leave in January."

Another factor working in USC's favor is that the Gamecocks signed two of Wilson's former teammates in this past recruiting class.

"Jamire (Williams) and Arkee (Smith) are both going to South Carolina. They're both real great football players. I talk to Jamire a lot about them. He tells me that if I go to South Carolina I'll be fine, because I'll be up there with them two. He says we'll all be able to go up there and win some championships, because they haven't won any championships yet. That'd be a great place to go and start something new."

Wilson, who was recently timed running a 4.55 second forty yard dash, said he knows what factors he is looking for in a school.

"I'm concentrating on where I will get the best coaching and the best opportunity to make myself better and go to the next level. Then academics and playing time."

While the Gamecock may currently be the team to beat for his services, Wilson said that he plans to wait until the fall to make his final decision.

"I just want to make sure I get four or five visits in, then I'll probably make my decision. It'll probably come somewhere in the middle of my senior season when I get the chance to visit all the schools that I want to see."

When asked to describe himself as a player, Wilson replied that he is the complete package on the gridiron.

"As a player, I'm very focused. I rarely make any mistakes on my reads. That's one thing you can count on is me being in the right position at the right time. Then not too many people can match my speed, and I love to hit people. I'm ferocious. I'm like an all around player. I can cover almost any slot wide receiver. I'm real good in bump and run coverage. I've been working real hard in everything, and I've got real good footwork. I've been playing special teams ever since I got in high school, and I still play it, so I know when I go to college I can get right in on special teams and make an impact there too."

Wilson, who has led his team in tackles the past two years, shared his goals for his senior season.

"This season I just want to win a state championship, because my older brother won two when he was in high school. I also want to make sure I have a better season than my junior season, because a lot of players have their junior season be their best season. I want to make sure I go 110-percent every game and give it my all. I just want to make sure I can stay on the field like I always do so I can lead the team in tackles again."

Wilson said that he has a busy summer ahead of him, as he hopes to attend camps at South Carolina, Florida State, LSU, Georgia Tech, South Florida, and Florida.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on this hard hitting Sunshine State prospect.

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