George Wilson had no choice in his recruitment but to take a leap of faith. With no face-to-face official visits, he tried to make the best of the Zoom and FaceTime conversations to decide which college he would pick.
“It was hard not to go on campus,” Wilson said on Wednesday. “A lot of Zooms. You can’t see coaches in person and get to know the real them. Seeing them through Zoom, it was kind of hard. For me, it was just knowing that coaches were being real with me or being fake through the Zoom. I think the coaches here, they did well during that.”
A South Carolina commitment, Wilson backed off his pledge when coach Will Muschamp was dismissed. And on Dec. 16, the defensive end made his signing official with Florida State.
Wilson said the connection with coaches via Zoom was “real” and he felt the energy from coach Mike Norvell as well as assistants Odell Haggins and John Papuchis. He has only been on campus a few weeks but has seen relationships with coaches strengthen. The defensive end from Virginia Beach, Va., was seeking a change in scenery and is happy with his decision.
“It was different from where I was from,” Wilson said. “I like different things so I wanted to try different things. I came here and it’s been great so far. … I want to thank God for putting me in this position. It’s just an honor to be at Florida State. It’s been great, been learning new things. It’s a different culture out here so I love that about this.”
When FSU updated its roster in June, Wilson was listed at 6-foot-4 and 189 pounds. But through the help of FSU’s strength and conditioning staff, nutritionists and others, Wilson has already seen an appreciable weight gain to 200 pounds. A weekly visit with a nutritionist has helped him understand not just the need to eat more but “what to put in my body.”
The weight room has been “intense,” Wilson said.
“I haven’t been here in this environment (before) but it’s intense out here,” Wilson said. “They’re excited in the weight room. I love it.”
Wilson said he thinks he will play the Fox position to start his career. Adding about 11 pounds is encouraging, and Wilson will need to continue to add good weight to see playing time this fall. He may not be prepared to play early but, when coaches feel he’s ready, Wilson offers an athletic edge rusher with speed that the Seminoles have been lacking in the last few years.
He is committed to learning the playbook and comparing notes with the other incoming freshman. Wilson also has received guidance from the veteran defensive linemen.
“They’re like coaches, for real,” Wilson said. “They tell us what to do and what’s going to go on because we don’t know what’s going on. They’re giving us a heads up on how to do things, the playbook, everything. It’s a big help.”