January 10, 2013

Are Wiggins, UGA on the same page?

Sandy Creek defensive back Shaquille Wiggins admits that he loves to win.

He isn't shy about sharing that, or, for that matter, anything else no matter the question that is posed.

Since the 5-foot-9, 165-pound lock down cornerback committed to Georgia last summer, a lot has happened.

He and his Sandy Creek teammates had a perfect 15-0 season that ended in a State Championship, he watched his future team fall five yards short of playing for a National Championship, and he competed in the Under Armour All American game in St. Petersburg, Fla. just last week.

Wiggins missed multiple games with a lingering concussion, and finished his final high school season with 16 total tackles and three interceptions.

Despite the ups and downs, the Tyrone native says that being a champion was the highlight of it all.

"My season went pretty good. I was hurt for a little while, but we won a state championship," said Wiggins with noticeable excitement in his voice. "Man, it was good to me. It was just great."

Competing in the Under Armour game was also a high point of the last year for Wiggins, but the experience was more than just a trip to have fun and see new places.

It was an opportunity to self-evaluate.

"It was really fun going against the best players in the nation," he said. "Laquon Treadwell, Robbie Rhodes, Stacy Coley, Robert Foster, and all of those guys, and it let me know where I am in my craft and about my technique stuff like that."

Now that the season is over and he has played in a major all-star game, conventional wisdom would suggest that some relaxation may be in order.

That won't be the case for Wiggins, as he has an official visits lined up every weekend between now and Signing Day.

"I go to South Carolina tomorrow," he said. "After South Carolina, it is Florida on the 18th. After Florida it is Ole Miss (January 25) and after that it is Texas A&M (February 1)."

The three-star corner has maintain throughout the recruiting process that he planned to take all of his official visits despite his commitment to Georgia, and he has specific reasons for taking each visit left on the calendar.

• South Carolina - "It is a good place. They have a good defense and a good defensive scheme. Coach (Grady) Brown and Coach (Lorenzo) Ward are some of the best in the SEC. They are just a good team, and they have a good history of (defensive backs)."

• Florida - "Coach T-Rob (Tavaris Robinson) is just a good coach. Coach (Will) Muschamp, he's a defensive coach. He knows a lot about the game. They also have a good scheme."

• Ole Miss - "It is a great place and a great environment. The coaches are down to earth and cool. Coach (Wesley) McGriff is also a good (defensive backs) coach. Just playing with those guys and hanging out with those guys, they are a good group of guys and a good football team."

• Texas A&M - "I've only talked to the coaches a couple of times, but JaQuay (Williams) tells me that it is great and if I come down there, I'm not going to come back. I hear nothing but good things about Texas A&M."

The Georgia commit took his official visit to Athens on December 9 for the annual Senior Gala.

While being a part of the Georgia's banquet was something Wiggins enjoyed, he admits that spending time with his fellow UGA pledges is something that almost always takes the cake.

"It was great. We went to the gala and saw the seniors get their awards and the team get their awards, so that was cool," said Wiggins when asked about his official visit to Georgia. "But it was me and the other recruits like Tray (Matthews), J.J. (Green), Brice (Ramsey), and those guys. It was kind of like a regular visit where we just had bonding time and had a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time together, walked downtown, and stuff like that. It was great."

Wiggins hasn't been shy in recent months about the fact that he has had some doubts about his commitment to the Bulldogs, but the Peach State prospect says that his commitment to Georgia remains strong and the coaches know it.

"I'm still 100 percent committed," said Wiggins. "I'm still planning on attending Georgia. The coaches, they've been worried a little bit, but I've told them what the deal is. We are still on the same page."

Wiggins has made it clear that one of the main reasons he was questioning his pledge to Georgia had to do with the number of cornerbacks they were bringing in for 2013.

According to the Under Armour All-American, some of those concerns have been eased recently, and he sees the situation at UGA now is the same as it was when he committed.

"You have to compete wherever you go. I have no problem with that," said Wiggins. "The only thing that is different now from when I committed is there are more cornerbacks with me, J.J., Reggie (Wilkerson),(Brendan) Langley, and all those, and we need them so that's their job to go be good players and get on the team. Georgia need cornerbacks so, it is kind of the same situation for me."

On Monday, Wiggins watched Alabama win its second straight BCS National Championship and its third in the last four years.

After seeing Georgia fall five yards short of being in Alabama's shoes last month in the Georgia Dome, Wiggins believes that the Bulldogs could just as easily be defending a title in his first year on campus in 2013.

"I thought season was a great season. A lot of freshmen stepped up," he said. "I know it was a tough one to swallow with the loss to (Alabama). We could have (done) Notre Dame the same way Bama did. I know a lot of them that are on the team and watching the game were saying the same thing. I know I was, and I'm not even on the team yet. I think they had a great season, and I don't see no reason why we can't go back."

As a player who might be asked to play major snaps as a freshman, does Wiggins believe Georgia can get back to the same place next year?

"Oh yeah, most definitely," said Wiggins. "I think we might have a little harder schedule this year, but no doubt we can go back."

Once the official visits are over and Wiggins puts pen to paper next month, the next step will be summer camp and he is already preparing himself to make the needed adjustments to make an early impact.

"Mainly just the physical part of it, like the speed," he said. "I just need to get acquainted with those things. I need to get used to the speed and the physicality of the game like going against big, strong receivers and big running backs from high school to college. Those are my main, I wouldn't say concerns, but the main things I need to work on."

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