Torrian Wilson: Behind the Scenes

"Their reaction was crazy," Torrian Wilson said. "I told the coaches to put me on speaker phone at first and I asked them, ‘Do you have a jersey in my size and do you have my jersey number?' They were like, ‘Of course T! Of course we have all that for you, why?' Then I was like ‘Because I want to commit and I want to be a Cardinal!' and they just went crazy on the phone." ... Read on for more!

After missing out on a number of key offensive line targets in the 2009 recruiting class, the Stanford coaches made it a priority to sign a large group of talented big men in the 2010 recruiting cycle. And judging by the early returns, Jim Harbaugh and his staff have been successful in that mission. After earning commitments from highly touted lineman David Yankey, Dillon Bonnell, Joe McNamara, and Cole Underwood, the Cardinal added arguably the top remaining lineman on its 2010 recruiting board when Florida offensive guard Torrian Wilson made a verbal commitment to Stanford last week.

Wilson picked Stanford over offers from many elite national programs, including Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan and Miami.

The three-star recruit informed the Stanford coaches of his decision on Sept. 1, the first day college coaches were allowed to contact recruits in the fall period.

"I was pretty much their first call Sept. 1, and we talked for a good while, probably about an hour," Wilson said. "I talked to Coach Harbaugh, [offensive line Coach Tim] Drevno, [running backs Coach Willie] Taggart, pretty much the whole coaching staff. They've been showing the most interest in me of any school that's recruiting me which shows me a lot, so I wanted to commit, but before I committed I wanted to talk to my parents to make sure they were okay with my choice. Before I hung up with Coach Harbaugh when he called me on Sept. 1, I told him I wanted to commit."

To say Wilson's parents were "okay" with his decision to commit to Stanford would be an understatement.

"My parents were excited," Wilson said "My mom actually wanted me to commit earlier than when I did, but I wasn't ready yet. But my parents were very, very happy with my decision."

And if Wilson's parents were excited with his decision, the Stanford coaching staff was beyond ecstatic to hear the news.

"Their reaction was crazy," laughed Wilson. "I told the coaches to put me on speaker phone at first and I asked them, ‘Do you have a jersey in my size and do you have my jersey number?' They were like, ‘Of course T! Of course we have all that for you, why?' Then I was like ‘Because I want to commit and I want to be a Cardinal!' and they just went crazy on the phone."

With his decision out of the way, Wilson is now free to shift his focus to his senior football year. An offensive lineman for one of the best high school teams in the nation, Miami Northwestern, Wilson and his team have one simple goal for this season.

"This year, I want to go to the state championship and win it," Wilson said.

Wilson spent many hours working to improve his game over the summer with that goal in mind. Specifically, he tried to improve his hands, feet, and takeoffs out of his stance.

In his team's season opening 26-7 win against Carol City last Friday, Wilson got an indication of just how much that offseason work paid off.

"When I put my hands on the defender before he could even know what's going on, I knew that all that work had paid off," Wilson said. When I got off the ball quicker than I did last year and had more drive through it, I knew that all the work had paid off."

Unfortunately for Wilson, he will have to wait a few more weeks before getting back on the gridiron. Midway through the first quarter of the season opener, Wilson sustained a torn meniscus that he expects will sideline him for two weeks.

And while Wilson missing two games in his senior year is not something anyone would smile about, the injury might have actually been a blessing in disguise for Stanford's chances of landing the talented lineman.

Getting injured helped Wilson remember to not lose sight of the value of a good education amidst all the flashiness of modern-day college football.

"Getting injured made me realized what's more important," Wilson said.

And when it came down to it, no other FBS school could top Stanford's educational opportunities.

"I made that decision not because of football or athletics, but because of the academics," Wilson said. "They're the top in the nation academically, and that really caught my eye because I want to go to a school where academics are first."

Despite those glowing comments, Wilson admits that he isn't ready to completely shut down his recruitment. He still plans on staying in touch with other colleges and will take several official visits.

"Right now, probably Tennessee and also Michigan [were the hardest schools for me to turn down,]" Wilson said. "I think I will be taking other official visits. They will be to Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, and probably Louisville or South Carolina."

The main thing holding Wilson back from completely ending his recruitment is the 3,000 mile trip from Miami to Palo Alto, Calif.

"Right now if anything it would probably be the distance, because California's on the West Coast," Wilson said. "But it will be real hard for other schools to take me away from Stanford right about now. It's going to be real hard for a school to do that."

Wilson hopes to get a better gauge of his comfort level on the West Coast when he takes an official visit to Stanford next month.

"It will be real big just seeing the athletes and seeing the city which Stanford is in," Wilson said. "It's going to play a big role for me, because I want to go to a city-like atmosphere because that's what I'm used to and I want to go to a school where the people greet you and the people are cool with you. All that plays a role."

One thing that won't be a factor in Wilson's decision, however, is the sentiments of the University of Miami fans who want the 6'4", 315-pounder to stay home for college.

"Yes, there's been a lot of pressure on a lot of the top recruits on my team to stay at home and go to the University of Miami," Wilson said. "It doesn't really bother when they say that. I just smile at them and shake their hand. It doesn't really bother me because they're not the ones making my choice and they're not the ones in my shoes and feeling what I feel, so I don't really let that get to me."

While Scout.com ranks Wilson the No. 18 offensive guard in the 2010 class, Rivals.com considers him the No. 2 offensive guard in the nation and a four-star prospect, while ESPN rates him the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation and a four-star prospect. He is slated to participate in the Under Armour All-American game next January.

A future major in communications or a finance-related field, Wilson reports a 3.4 GPA. He has scheduled an ACT retake for next month, and is currently enrolled in an ACT prep class.


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