De'Andre Wilder is highly regarded as one of, if not, the top linebacker prospect for the Hurricanes in the Class of 2017. Wilder is a local kid with a high motor, great build and tenacious hitting ability.
Yesterday, the Carol City Chiefs linebacker tweeted out his top 10 schools (11 if you include LSU, which wasn't featured in the photo). I was able to reach out to De'Andre via direct message on Twitter, and asked the 4-star prospect if he would do an interview for "State of The U".
Here's how it went.
2017 Linebacker, Miami Carol City Senior High home of the Mighty Chiefs
BLAIN BRADLEY: First of all De'Andre, thanks for taking your time to interview with SOTU. Going into your senior year, what kind of preparation have you taken to improve on last year's success?
DE'ANDRE WILDER: This offseason I've gotten with my uncles to work on being faster. I'm in the weight room. [I've] even worked out with legendary guys like Willie Williams [of Strong Arm Athletics].
BB: What has been your workout regimen this off-season? How about your stats, like 40-time,bench, and squat? What sets you apart from others, in terms of training?
DW: Ok let's speak of 40 times. I went to the Nike Opening [in Miami], and ran a 4.80 with a pulled hamstring. I feel like I let myself down. I've been lifting weights but not maxing out. A lot of reps.
BB: You recently Tweeted out a pic of your top 10 schools (11, actually, including LSU). What was the process like coming up with this list? Was it difficult? What drew you to these schools?
DW: [The recruiting process] is very hard. Most people think it's an easy process, but it's really not. This is a decision that can change your life forever, and I am not in a rush to commit. Those 11 schools are really taking the time out to show me how much they want me.
BB: Growing up a Miami kid, what attracts you to the U? What makes South Florida football players different from other prospects? When you think of the Hurricanes, what comes to mind?
DW: Growing up in Miami, football is like a right a passage. An Optimist [youth league] football game in Miami can have 5,000 to 10,000 people at a park on any given Saturday. That's how I got the name "Eye Candy", from my Scott Lake Vikings Optimist days. But, THE U is an elite, not to mention, private school. Even though I was young, I remember the days when everybody wanted to go to the U. When I think of UM, the whole city comes to mind. That U represent the inner city to the private school kid that all came together to be one.
BB: Who was your favorite Hurricanes player growing up?
DW: My favorite UM player growing up was, well I have a couple. I know I was young, but Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Jon Vilma and Devon Hester and Olivier Vernon, because he [Vernon] was a difference maker from the time he stepped on campus.
BB: New UM head coach Mark Richt recently made news, after donating $1 million to help construct a new indoor practice facility. Richt is clearly dedicated to rebuilding, this once great program. Would you like to be part of a team that is in a rebuilding process? Can you see yourself as a leader that can make a team great again?
DW: UM is not rebuilding. They have all the right tools, just needed the right person to put them in motion. Anyone willing to give out their own pocket is truly dedicated, and I'm all for loyalty.
BB: What kind of impact do you expect to make at the next level? What position do you see yourself playing? Would you be able to possibly play as an edge rusher on the defensive line?
DW: It's crazy because I plan on [making an impact] on the field from day one, whatever school I go to. It's funny. I plan on playing a hybrid type of linebacker. I can play safety, all the way down to defensive end. I can be a player that you can keep on the field in hurry up situations. I feel I'm the best all around player in 2017.
BB: What are your individual and team goals going into your senior season?
DW: Our team goals are to win the championship. We have great talent on this team, and our coaches have experience coaching at the next level. We have everything in place. I'm a team player. I have no individual goals. I want to dominate every game like I'm the best player in the nation.
BB: Do you have a time frame for when you want to commit, or are you looking to take your time and weigh out all your options?
DW: I'm honestly trying to take my senior visits. I'm a straight up type person. I want to commit and be done with it. It's a lot of schools talking to me. I want to see what the difference is in each school. So I'm planning to verbally commit after my last game of eligibility of my senior year, maybe right after the game.
BB: Let's fast forward three to four years from now. Will we see you on stage, accepting a Bednarik or Nagurski award? Do you think you have what it takes to become one of the best players at the next level?
DW: I WILL BE COLLECTING ONE OR BOTH OF THOSE TROPHIES! I'm that type of player that shows up when the game is on the line, and make that clutch defensive play. I don't plan on stopping that.
You heard it first Hurricanes fans. De'Andre Wilder is confident, a team player and ready to make a mark on the game. Hopefully for the Hurricanes, Wilder makes his mark in college for The U.