Isaiah Wilson committed to UGA last Friday.
The 5-star offensive tackle’s choice cinches up Georgia’s best offensive line class in the modern recruiting era. He also proved to be a home run interview after he made his decision at a Poly Prep Day School holiday assembly.
Wilson’s thoughts were candid. Direct. Funny.
Wilson carried around an English Bulldog after his decision to commit to UGA. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
They sounded like a Hollywood screenwriter penned them. A good one. Not one of those cheesy types that populate network TV. Every other answer was a “money” sound byte for any TV newscast that covered his decision.
The nation’s No. 7 offensive tackle prospect for 2017 had another reason to keep Georgia on his mind. Wilson’s father told me at the ceremony that he’ll play college ball near some members of his family. They live in the Metro Atlanta area.
Wilson’s glee regarding his choice was hard to miss. So was his overall size. 6-foot-7. 354 pounds. Size 18-feet. His webs for hands were measured at more than 10 inches across.
Dikembe Mutombo or David Robinson would fit in between his wingspan.
When he spoke to DawgNation on an outdoor deck overlooking a Poly Prep conference room, it was about 20 degrees outside.
He’d speak and large puffs of frost would leave his mouth. I’ve never seen anything like that.
Imagine the steam from a locomotive. Picture the puffs that come out of factories. Those are the images which fit that scene.
What else stands out to me about the Wilson decision? I’ve got a Top 10 that’s worthy of Mr. Letterman back in his day.
- The 5-star tackle said he made up his mind about Georgia about two weeks prior to his official visit. Fans will love to hear that his official visit was pure fun. Not a rigid examination of whether Athens was the right fit for him. Wilson already knew.
- Reports from the commits on that visit have gotten back to me about how well Wilson could move when they’d cut up. 5-star signee Richard LeCounte III said he had the wiggle and the flexibility and the rhythm of a defensive back. Let’s repeat: He moved around like a defensive back at that size.
- That point was reinforced by Poly Prep offensive coordinator Kevin Burke. What stands out the most to him about Wilson? “Just his pure athleticism and his ability to bend,” Burke said. “The way the guy can flex and move for his size I just haven’t it before from a guy that big. He can really bend and he can really move. That’s what gives him such a high ceiling in football.”
- Poly Prep coach Kevin Fountaine said the relationship with Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman was the difference in Wilson’s decision. Burke agreed with that. “That’s what it seemed like as it came down to the wire. That’s what probably separated them.”
- Burke also praised Wilson’s overall intelligence and football mind. We used a “Madden 2017” comparison while discussing that. All the players in that video game franchise have a numerical rating for a wide range of attributes. Burke would put Wilson’s intelligence at a “99” and that’s the highest level possible on that game. “We ran a college offense,” Burke said. “Everything we did was the Tom Herman system that we learned at Rutgers with Drew Mehringer. Then we ran the same exact offense. No changes.”
- Everything was the same. Nothing was dummied down. Everything was installed the same way it was at the college level at Rutgers. “He was able to pick it up that fast and that will translate over to the next level,” Burke said. “We gave him that offense in July and he had it mastered by fall camp and he was able to tutor the rest of the team.” Wilson has a keen mind that will remember concepts he said that were only shared with the first time they met and wondered why those had not been installed yet. He was able to learn when they were coming by going over the install calendar with Burke. He plans to study Business and Marketing at Georgia.
- Georgia was indeed his favorite team growing up. “It was very special when you started realizing that everything falls into place (with Georgia) with something you idolized and grew up with as a kid,” Wilson said. “It starts getting really really special and it starts to seem like you are about to be a part of something really really great.”
- Who will he go after for Georgia now? “Anybody we need,” Wilson said. “Need running backs? Give them to us. Wide receivers? Give it. D-tackles. We’ll take it. We’ll take anybody. You just put them on my list.”
- Everyone at Poly Prep calls him “Zay.” There’s a story behind that. “When I was making my Twitter I said I need something catch. So I put in Zay_74 and that didn’t sound too good. Then someone said ‘Well, Lay Zay’ and I was like what is it supposed to mean? They said the joke is you are supposed to be lazy, but it is Lay Zay. I was like ‘Oh, this is is actually clever’ so after that, it just took off.”
- He’s not planning on going back to UGA next month for an unofficial visit to help seal the class. “I don’t think so, but you best believe I will be into somebody’s Twitter and (direct messages) by next week,” he said.
- Wilson was excited about the chance to block for returning seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel next season. “I think they are going to run (up) a lot of yards,” Wilson said.
Ok, so that was 11. That’s just how good Wilson was when he met the media after his decision last Friday.