- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Most in the recruiting world believe a prospect's junior season is the most important. That's why Wilton Speight is doing it again.
After suffering a broken collar bone in the 2011 season opener, the quarterback from Richmond (Va.) Collegiate has reclassified to play as a junior this season. That should certainly help him gain interest from college recruiters, who often base interest and offers on a prospect's performance during his junior season.
“I wasn't sure how it was going to work out,” Speight said. “At first, I was mad. But over time, I realized that I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason. My mom told me that. She was right. While it might be tough seeing all my friends graduate in a class I've been in for so long, I keep in mind it's for the game that I love. I definitely think it will pay off, having this extra year to mature.”
Recruiters seem interested even if Speight hasn't secured a scholarship offer yet. He said he's been in close contact with Alabama, Auburn, Southern California, West Virginia California and UCLA. He's also talked to Virginia and Virginia Tech. He visited all of those schools this summer, as well as Boston College.
“They have told me not to expect an offer for the quarterback position just because it's a tougher one to evaluate,” Speight said, who added that most schools have told him he should start to see some scholarship offers after national signing day in February.
Speight might have a difficult decision to make one day. He said he'd like to play in the SEC but has a certain affinity for Southern California partly because his quarterback coach is good friends with Trojans' head coach Lane Kiffin.
“It would be incredible,” Speight said of the potential of playing for the Trojans. “There's such a history with that program, national championships. Seems like they're always in the Rose Bowl. The fans out there and Southern California in general.”
Then there's the allure of playing in the south.
“I would love to play in the SEC,” Speight said. “Alabama or Auburn would definetely be great...To be honest, I will play anywhere. I haven't looked into each program yet. I definitely will when they offer me a scholarship. Right now, I'm trying to enjoy the ride ... but I would definitely not mind going 2,000 miles away for school.”
Speight said he will consider academics first when picking a school. Then, he'll consider other options, like a school's tradition.
“I go to a small private school where academics are key,” he said. “I'd defintely like to continue on that path.”
Speight threw for over 2,600 yards and 27 touchdowns during his sophomore season in 2010. If he does the same during his second junior season, he may well have a serious decision to make.