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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Richt checks on his top commit

By Radi Nabulsi

ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) spent Sunday morning eating breakfast with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, then ended that night on the phone with Georgia coach Mark Richt.

This weekend, Wiggins will take an official visit to Florida before heading to Ole Miss and Texas A&M later in the month. Wiggins maintains he is committed to Georgia, but exactly how committed is he? That is exactly what Richt asked the four-star defensive back recently. Twice.

Shaq Wiggins
Shaq Wiggins says he's still committed to Georgia, but that hasn't stopped his recruiting process at all.
“I talked to him while I was at Disney World,” Wiggins said. “It was before I got in the go-karts. I was in line and it was moving fast so I just walked away so I could hear him. He asked if he should be concerned about me decommitting. He said. ‘With all the rumors should I be concerned about you leaving us?’ I said no. I wasn’t really surprised he asked me because Coach [Scott] Lakatos asked me the same thing.”

Richt has a right to be worried, as Wiggins has stated that he believes Georgia prefers taller cornerbacks. The coaching staff has tried to reassure the 5-foot-10 senior.

“Coach [Todd] Grantham, Coach Lakatos and I talked about the football side of things and Richt asked me about where I wanted to play,” Wiggins said. “I told him the boundary cornerback and nickel. They told me I would be able to play those spots. We talked about jersey numbers and I will be No. 6 once I get there. I am still committed to Georgia. I will know more after the other visits to Florida and Ole Miss but I am still 100 percent committed.”

The South Carolina coaches told Wiggins on his official visit where he would line up for the Gamecocks.

“They said I could come in and compete for a starting position,” Wiggins said. “I would be playing the field corner behind Jimmy Legree. It would be up to me if I started or not. That would be my objective coming in: competing against Legree for a starting spot.”

That is similar to what he is hearing from the Georgia staff.

“Georgia has said I will be on the field when we play Clemson,” Wiggins said. “Coach Richt said I would have to compete for a spot.”

Richt spoke to Wiggins Sunday evening to set up a visit later in the week.

“He told me is coming to the house on Wednesday,” Wiggins said. “He asked me how my visit to South Carolina was and if he had anything to worry about and I told him no again. He talked to my 4-year-old nephew Chase Usher, and my nephew said, ‘Go Dawgs.’ So it was a real good conversation.”

Wiggins recently underwent the rock-star treatment at the Under Armour All-American game. After the game was over and he returned to his hotel Wiggins ran into a gaggle of college coaches that wanted to talk with him.

“The hotel lobby was crazy,” Wiggins said. “Ole Miss, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were there. South Carolina was there but we didn’t talk because they wanted to save their visits. I talked to everybody else -- Coach [Tommy] Thigpen and Coach [Willie] Martinez of Tennessee, all the Florida coaches, Coach [Tee] Martin at USC, Joker Phillips, coaches from Miami and Nebraska, Coach Lakatos and Coach Grantham. I can’t remember who all I talked to. They were asking me about other players.

“It was kind of awkward because Coach Grantham and Coach Lakatos would be behind the coaches I was talking to. Or I would be talking to Lakatos and Coach [Travaris] Robinson would call out to me or recruits would say, ‘Hey, Shaq, come with us.’ ”

During the game itself Wiggins had a couple of pass breaks ups as well as a chance to cover one of the top receivers in the country.

“I had to cover Robert Foster,” Wiggins said. “He is quick off the line. What a lot of people don’t know about playing cornerback is that you have to be patient. Every receiver does something different and you have to go against them a few times before you know them. It was a good competition, especially knowing he was going to Alabama.”

When asked what was the likelihood of the two meeting up in a future SEC championship game, Wiggins responded, “Great.”

“It would be sweet to meet him in that game,” Wiggins said. “That would be a big advantage for me. I mean he will learn more at Bama but going into that game I would have more confidence that I had covered him in an all-star game.”

The affable Wiggins was one of Georgia’s top recruiters for the Class of 2013. Week after week top Georgia targets would mention how Wiggins was calling them or texting them to become a part of the Bulldogs’ family. The shoe was on the other foot at the Under Armour game.

“I was getting recruited by all the Florida commits,” Wiggins said. “Kelsey Griffin was recruiting me to South Carolina. Everybody was talking about Ole Miss down there. I didn’t talk a whole lot about recruiting but I sure was being recruited.”