- To listen to Sam Webb's radio interview with Speight, on which this story is based, click the following link: Speight Talks Commitment
National Signing Day 2013 just got a little better for the University of Michigan football program. The Wolverines received their second verbal commitment for 2014 when Richmond Collegiate (Va.) junior quarterback, Wilton Speight accepted a verbal offer this morning. The pledge was the culmination of a whirlwind courtship that pick up in earnest a few short weeks ago.
“I didn’t think I was going to get offered until I got the phone call,” Speight told GoBlueWolverine. “I am very honored they put the trust in me. I just can’t wait to get up there and lead (Michigan) to a couple national championships.”
Speight said his recruitment heated up with a phone call to assistant coach Jerry Montgomery who told the rangy field general that the Wolverines were coming to see him throw last Friday.
“And that was news to me,” Speight said on the coaching visit. “It was only Wednesday. So, I got ready. I got some receivers together that Friday morning. So this past Friday morning coach (Jeff Hecklinski), the wide receivers coach came in and watch me throw about 20 balls, and said, ‘That’s all he needed to see.’ He said they would make a decision on Monday, this Monday all the coaches would. And we would hear from coach (Brady) Hoke on Wednesday, which is this morning.”
What solidified Speight’s commitment was the trust he built with the entire Michigan coaching staff.
“A lot times in recruiting, coaches will come in and tell you one thing and mean another,” Speight explained. “With Michigan and the coaches I talked to, I know what they are telling me is what I am going to get. And right off the bat, I can trust any of those guys. And to be able to say right off the spot and say, ‘ I commit the next four or five years of my life you guys.’ It says a lot.”
The connection with the coaches loomed large in the decision, but a number of other factors played major roles as well.
“The education I am going to get a Michigan is just going to be incredible,” he said. “Just to carry on the high school degree I am going to get here, and roll right into a place like University of Michigan—is amazing,” Speight said. “That offer had a huge part of what I was factoring in. And to top it all off, I don’t know it there is a better fan base in the country for football or basketball. I saw Michigan get the win last night. I can’t wait to play in front of 110,000 people in the Big House, ‘cause they bleed it. I was really honored and it was a no brainer.”
In the meantime, Speight will continue to work with his renowned quarterback coach Steve Clarkson, who he said happens to also be working with Tim Tebow currently. Clarkson, runs the ‘Dream Maker Foundation’ in California, which is where Speight flies out to once month to hone his passing skills.
“He just really helps,” Speight said on Clarkson. “The way he knows how to perfect everything a quarterback needs to have down. And to top it off, he has a very close relationship with (Michigan offensive coordinator) Al Borges. So everything just really came into place well and worked out perfectly.”
Speight added, “It’s tough missing a lot of things back home, but I always just told myself, ‘it’s going to pay off, it’s going to be worth it.’ And this morning it’s evidence of that. I can’t even express how grateful I am to the coaching staff at Michigan and the Michigan family, ‘cause they’re already some incredible amount of support.”
Last season Speight did for a time question what the future held. He decided to reclassify as a junior this year after breaking his right collarbone in the opening game.
“That quickly ended my junior season,” Speight said on his injury. “Which everybody know is the most important in the recruiting process. And I had to surgery on and get a medal plate to make sure it never happens again. I didn’t know it was going to work out, but I am lucky the high school I am right now blessed me with the opportunity reclassify as a junior again.
“So I feel very blessed right now. I think the coaching staff took a long hard look. This is what they said, ‘Everything from my background, from my family to my grades, and what kind of education I am already getting here at this school. (It’s) much more than I can throw a football and how accurate I can be when people are rushing in the pocket. But like I said, it’s been a really long journey and finally we are flipping onto a new chapter. And I can’t wait to start this up.”
Speight said he was told Michigan’s 2014 class has space for 16 prospects including himself. Next on his agenda is to get the best players in America to join him in Ann Arbor.
“I am going to get in touch (with the coaching staff) after this crazy day kind of settles down,” Speight said. “I am going got try to get Coach Borges on the phone. I just want him to give me a list of who they are targeting and who I need to start working on, because I plan on this class on being the top they’ve had in a while. I am everyday (going to) contact as many guys as I can (and) build friendships, build great strong trust worthy relationships. Put together 15 guys and myself to be as close to as perfection as possible.”