Wideman visiting USC with eyes wide open

January 14, 2014 

Dexter Wideman of Saluda High in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, held at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg.

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

Defensive lineman Dexter Wideman of Saluda will take his official visit to USC this weekend with several members of his family, and he'll do so as a Florida State commitment, which he has been since the summer.

Wideman put the strength of his commitment "at a 6 or 7" on a scale of 10.

In an interview at his school Tuesday, Wideman said nothing has changed with him as he goes into the final weeks of the recruiting season, and no definite decision has been made.

"I'm committed to Florida State but I'm going to go down to Carolina and have a good time, spend time with the coaches and talk to them," Wideman said.

He will take his official visit to Florida State Jan. 31, and his family will also join him on that visit.

"Go down, spend a good time with the coaches, talk to them and then after that I'm going to put things down on paper and see where I'm going to go," he said.

Wideman has visited both schools before. On these trips he has some specific questions he wants answered.

"I'm going to ask the coaches to lay everything out for me, let me know how it's going to be, don't sugarcoat anything to me, tell me straight up how everything is going to be, and I just want to build my relationship with all the coaches," he said.

Wideman added that the depth charts at both schools are very important to him because he'd like to play early.

"I haven't studied them that much but I know at Carolina I've got a real good chance of playing my first year, and I know at Florida State if I work hard I still have a chance," he said.

Speculation has been running strong in USC recruiting circles that Wideman is prime for flipping to USC at some point. Wideman has heard that kind of talk as well.

"My commitment is strong," he said. "Well just have to see when Signing Day comes what happens."

Wideman said his grandmother, uncle and some other family members will play a role in his decision-making process, but he pointed out the pull of staying close to his family won't be a factor.

"I thought it was going to be a factor but it's not going to be a factor," he said. "My grandma told me she's going to make it to all my games and don't worry about trying to stay close to home if I don't want to do that. The decision is going to be on me so family is not going to be a factor."

So, could Wideman sign today if it were Signing Day?

"I can't answer that," he said. "I just don't know right now. I'm going to have to wait until after these official visits and we'll see."

There's also the matter of Wideman getting his grades to be able to qualify, something his former coach Doug Painter really emphasized for him last summer and this season.

"I'm going to qualify," Wideman said. "Everything has been improving big time. I'm going to qualify."

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