In this two-part interview with Dawgman.com, Wheeler talks about a recent recruiting visit to Washington, and he also touches on his junior season at Liberty, the heartbreak of losing to the Wolverines at the Tacoma Dome, and what he's doing to get back there as a senior.
On his unofficial visit to Washington when the basketball team hosted California: "I was graciously invited by the U-Dub coaches. I was there with 11 other juniors. I got to talk to all the different coaches. We got to tour all the different athletic facilities. Our parents got the academic presentation while we were in meetings with the position coaches. And then we went to the game."
On learning anything new about the program: "I was fortunate enough to take a tour earlier in the summer. I'm pretty familiar with the facilities. But it was good to hear the coaches speak. I particularly liked what Sark had to say. One thing I picked up from him is that their motto is a relentless pursuit to gain a competitive edge. They are creating their program around certain philosophies, and I really liked the atmosphere that they had going on around there. The coaches are great; I even got a chance to talk to Nick Holt, the defensive coordinator, for awhile. They all reached out to me really well, and I really enjoyed it."
On learning about the other prospects there: "There were definitely a couple of familiar faces there. Having competed against Kasen Williams in middle school in both basketball and football, he and I are good friends. I sat next to him at the basketball game. We just chatted about recruiting and different schools and stuff. And of course he's way ahead of me in that aspect, but I tried to pick his brain a little bit.
Deandre Coleman's younger brother Valentino Coleman was there with his parents, and I played little league baseball with him. I didn't even recognize him. He's gotten so much bigger and thicker over time. He's at Garfield. I talked to him for a while. And I really enjoyed talking to Taniela Tupou from Archbishop Murphy. I sat next to him. I recognized a couple of other faces. I got to meet Brett Smith from Oregon, West Salem High School. He's a great person, great athlete. He was the only other quarterback that was there. It was fun being around all the guys, and it was definitely a good experience."
On getting to the 3A title game: "Going into the season, we knew that we could accomplish a lot as a team. We adopted a motto of being one team and playing together through thick and thin, and we were able to do that throughout the playoffs. In our four games in the playoffs, they were all comeback wins. And seven of the 14 games in which we played in, we won 12. And seven of those wins were all comebacks. So I think that shows a lot about our team, who we were and who we going to be next year. The experience was a great one.
"I remember watching (Jake) Locker and Ferndale when I was in the seventh grade, and I thought to myself that I'd give anything to be able to play here one day, and I got to do that twice (Lakes and Bellevue). It was just a great blessing from God and I'm just fortunate to have that experience."
On getting fired up for next year knowing how close Liberty got last year: "Yeah it does. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the season. Of course we have to fill in some positions, but most high schools do year-in and year-out. Having lost to Bellevue twice in the same year - both by six points…at the end of the day they could just be six points better. You hate to say that, but you have to give them a lot of credit because they do what they do very well. At the end of the day they are wearing the ring and we're not, so we have to get back to work and get ready for next season."
On what he's doing to get ready: "For now, I'm working hard. I'm throwing, three to four days a week - lifting, running, speed training every day. I'm trying to push my body to get the most out of it that I can going into senior season and camp season. My knee is finally getting healthy.
On his knee: "Prior to two-a-days, we did a final team activity, which included climbing Mount Si. And I guess I was the unluckly one, because I ended up hyperextending, or spraining, my knee. So I played basically the whole season on a bum limb. I didn't run too much this season. The coaches wanted to protect me, keep me back there. Hopefully this year there will be more to watch. That's the goal."
On maybe playing with his teammates - Jake Bainton and Chandler Jenkins - in college: "We're all real tight-knit and are great friends. We've played together and competed together since the fifth and sixth grade. So there's the possibility of going all to the same place, but I don't think that's set in anyone's minds. We sometimes joke about being roommates and going to the same college, but at the same time we all have our own aspirations and goals. I don't know if those will ever intersect."
Part Two will cover Wheeler's recruiting process, who is recruiting him the most right now, and his future plans for checking out colleges as he continues through the process of finding the best school for him.
Q&A - Trey Wheeler, Part One
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