SALUDA — Dexter Wideman will go down as a flip.
Thats recruiting parlance for a player who is verbally committed to one school until he pulls a signing day shocker by inking with a different school. It doesnt apply here, though, says Saluda coach Stewart Young.
I think he knew where he wanted to go the whole time, Young said Wednesday afternoon after Wideman signed a national letter of intent with South Carolina during a ceremony at his school.
Wideman had been listed for six months as a Florida State verbal commitment, but by the end of the process nobody, not even the Seminoles, put much stock in that.
He committed a little too quickly and didnt really know how to get out of it, Young said. Hes a very approachable, likeable kid who doesnt like to tell anybody no, and it caught up to him in the end a little bit.
Widemans Wednesday morning phone call to tell the Seminoles no was tough on him, Young said.
Lord yes, very hard, the coach said, but he did it, and I am proud of him.
The next call, to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier and lead recruiter G.A. Mangus, was much easier.
They were ready to celebrate, Wideman said. Its really been nerve-wracking, just all the phone calls and stuff, but I know in the end its going to pay off.
The 6-foot-3, 268-pound Wideman is rated a four-star prospect and the 14th-best defensive tackle in the country, according to a 247Sports.com composite analysis of all the major recruiting services. However, he might not be a defensive tackle at South Carolina, Young said.
I projected him as a tackle into his junior year, but after watching his pass rushing skills improve, and with (South Carolinas) needs at end, I think hell be groomed to be an end. He runs a sub-4.7 40. Ive seen him chase quarterbacks down 70 yards during games. Hes got the tools.
Wideman said he believes he will play next year regardless of the position.
I am going to work my butt off during the summer time, and I will be playing next year, he said.
That will require that he qualifies academically, and there is a definite chance of that, Young said.
Wideman is optimistic hell make the grade, he said.
My grades are good, he said.
Wideman managed to keep his final choice a secret until his 3 p.m. announcement, which came in front of a packed gymnasium at Saluda High, where his classmates cheered wildly after Wideman ducked under a podium and came out with a South Carolina hat and gloves.
I did a lot of thinking and decided I wanted to stay close to home, he said. I felt like I was better at USC.