After Wisconsin passed on signing a safety during the 2015 recruiting cycle, it was clear that the position would have to be addressed the following year considering three of Wisconsin’s five scholarship safeties are set to exhaust their eligibility following this season.
With over a dozen offers out to safety prospects, Wisconsin extended another one Friday to Katy (TX) High prospect Collin Wilder, joining Houston, Duke, Northwestern, SMU, Texas Tech and Tulane as schools after the 5-11, 175-pound junior.
“I actually hadn’t been in contact with Wisconsin a lot prior to the offer,” Wilder told BadgerNation.com. “I was just receiving letters about the campus and when they did offer it was out of the blue for me, but I was really excited when I received the offer because it is a great opportunity. It is one of my best offers from a power five conference from a football standpoint but Wisconsin is also known for their academics.”
First year wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore not only extended an offer to the three-star Wilder but offered Wilder’s teammates and longtime friends Paddy Fisher (three star outside linebacker) and Travis Whillock (safety).
“He just talked about how the three of us are good fit for the program at Wisconsin on defense and how they want us,” said Wilder, rated the No.30 safety in the country by Scout.com. “It always has been a dream to play together in college. We talked about it when we were younger, and as we get closer and closer, coming to an end for our high school careers, we keep talking about how we could play together. It would be a great opportunity.”
Wilder said he is still getting to know Gilmore but one of the thing that Gilmore mentioned that caught his attention was the similarities between Wisconsin and Katy High School.
“It takes everybody to buy in; in order to be successful everyone has to be all in,” Wilder said about the talks between himself and Gilmore. “If you want to win a championship you need people to buy in and Wisconsin is similar in that regard to Katy. He was saying that he thinks the three of us can continue to help Wisconsin in that direction.”Wilder and his teammates had success this past season in the 3-4 defense, guiding the school to a 14-2 record and a berth in the state championship game, losing to Cedar Hill 23-20. Over the course of the season, Wilder was able to assist in holding opponent’s offenses to an average of 9.6 points a game, including five shutouts.
Wilder describes his game as aggressive but discipline who can make the smart play on the football field. Despite the success Wilder and his team found last season, he is continuing to work on his game individually to make sure that he validates the attention that he is receiving from schools.
“I want to make sure not only my quickness is improved but also my back pedal is better than last year,” Wilder said. “I want to take it to another level and show this coming year that I can play and that I belong in a power five conference before I get to college.”
Wilder is taking things slow in his recruitment after he committed to Texas Tech last June before de-committing in April following a lack of communication between him and the coaching staff.
“I learned a lot of things but the main thing I learned is to make sure to get to know the coaching staff,” Wilder said. “Being able to find the right staff that will provide what is best for me on and off the field. Just through the whole process going forward I want to find a school and staff that I’m comfortable with that will help me develop.”
Gilmore acknowledge the fact that Wisconsin might be jumping in a little later than some other teams who have been recruiting Wilder since the start of his recruitment, but he made it clear that Wisconsin views him and his teammates as high priorities.
“He was saying that he wants me and my two teammates to get up to Madison so we can see the campus and what Madison is like,” Wilder said. “I want to get up for a game in the fall but I still need to figure out when I could do it. We’re trying to figure out a time when we can come visit Madison this summer.”