Maurice Wells Recruiting Update

One tailback on the Trojan coaching staff's short wish list is Maurice Wells, a five star game breaker from Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood High School. The Sunshine State blue chipper gives us the latest on his recruitment, including where the Trojans stand.

Wells, 5'10, 185 lbs, had a spectacular junior campaign as he led the state with 3,076 yards rushing on the year to go along with 31 touchdowns. "I think my strengths are my speed, vision, and quickness," he said. "A lot of opposing teams, when I talk to them, they say ‘Wow, you're fast, fast with your pads on.' My vision, I can see the open holes. Last year we didn't throw the ball too much but this year we're actually going to throw the ball so that will add another dimension to my game. I'll be catching the ball out of the backfield."

Already considered to be one of the nation's top tailback prospects after his 2003 output, Wells helped his stock even more when he went to the Atlanta Nike Camp back in May and earned MVP honors as he ran a 4.4 forty, put 185 pounds up 20 times on the bench, and he also excelled in the drills.

"I like Ohio State, Georgia Tech, USC, Notre Dame, Maryland, and Michigan," Wells said when the topic of recruiting came up. "I'm looking at how I'm going to fit in the system. Playing time, am I going to get to play early or am I going to have to wait four or five years before I even get to see the field. You know, things like that. How certain recruiters are recruiting me. Just a couple of things that the normal everyday recruit takes into consideration."

While Wells is still open to all six of those schools mentioned, he did admit that Ohio State, Georgia Tech, and USC are the frontrunners right now as they have been for the past couple of months, "Those three stand out a little bit because they all got in on me early," he said. "The head coaches actually came out to my school. I didn't really get to talk to them because of NCAA rules and stuff, but they've all shown a lot of interest in me, in the letters they write and everything, so that puts those three on top."

What first jumps out after hearing Wells list off his leaders is the fact that all three of them are out of state, but there is a good reason for that, "I'm not really from Florida," he said. "I've lived here for about four years now, but it's not my home. I have a little bit of family in Maryland. I have a lot of family in Ohio and Michigan, in that area. To stay in-state, it would actually not even be staying home because just being over here is being away from home."

What has Wells listing USC in his top 3? "They have great players and they send people to the NFL all the time," he explained. "And with the tradition, and they have good academics as well so that's a plus. They were also the Co-National Champions. I watched the game they played against Michigan and they just dominated. That's the type of game they play every game during the season. They score like forty points a game."

"Lane Kiffin, Monte Kiffin's son, he came by the school a couple times and I get a lot of letters from him. Also Coach T-Mac (Todd McNair), he's the running backs coach and I get a lot of letters from him also. And Pete Carroll too, I've talked to him on the phone a couple times. He seems real cool. He's actually the first coach who called me in May when every coach got one phone call to your house. He called at twelve o'clock at night and I got to talk to him so that was cool. That showed a lot of interest."

"They tell me that I can come in and contribute right away. They play young guys. The coaches, they see me as a running back so that's also good. A lot of schools are worried, ‘Well, you know, is he going to be a player because he only weighs about 185 pounds, so will he be able to play?' But they think I can come in right away. I mean, they can't guarantee that I'll start because nobody can say that, but they said that I'd definitely probably end up playing some my freshman year. They rotate a lot of guys so I'd play eventually."

Wells has also been to the Southern California area before, "I used to go to football camp, the ASC contact football camp out in San Bernardino, up there in that area," he said. "And for a little bit when I was younger, too young to remember, I used to live in San Diego. So I've been out there before."

In addition to the Nike Camp he attended back in the spring, Wells has also taken an unofficial visit to Ohio State, and he also took in the Georgia Tech Camp, and there still might be more to come, "At the end of July on the 31st, Michigan is having an open house. I think I might be going up there and while I'm up there I might hit Notre Dame and Michigan State while I'm in that area. But that's not final, I don't for sure yet. Besides that I'm just going to be going to practice, working out, lifting weights, and working hard."

While he has yet to schedule any official trips at this time, Wells does have an idea on a few schools that are certain to get visits, "I haven't set up any official visits yet, but I'm definitely going to take one to USC, go out there to the campus, Ohio State, and Georgia Tech. Those top 3, I'm definitely going there. As far as my other two, I don't know yet."

Wells is among a host of the South's top prospects who plans to make his announcement on signing day, live on TV on ‘Countdown to Signing Day' with Jamie Newberg.


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