Michigan Football Recruiting: Getting to Know Wolverines 2014 QB Wilton Speight
Wilton Speight is good at just about everything he does.
The 6’6”, 220-pound, soon-to-be Richmond Collegiate (Va.) star senior quarterback is an above-average football player.
That much we know—he’s a 3-star rated athlete (247Sports) who’s committed to Brady Hoke’s Michigan Wolverines.
But he’s much more than a football player; he’s also a horrible video gamer—just ask his younger brothers, the forever-comedic sophomore Griffin and eighth-grader Jess.
When it comes to playing titles like Call of Duty or Halo, the eldest Speight brother—pronounced “Spate”, not “Spite”—is thoroughly dominated in every shape, fashion and form. Wilton can hold his own when playing sports-related games, but he’s a victim in shooters when he rivals his little brothers.
“I get smoked,” Speight said, laughing, during a 40-minute phone interview Tuesday night. “I’ve kind of shied away from (playing them). I’ll try to get on with them and see where I stand—they just smoke me. My screen pops up and I get shot in the game.
“There’s not much I can do.”
Speight shares an airtight bond with Griffin and Jess. Both unique in their own right, the younger Speight brothers keep big bro honest and humble.
And that’s the way it should be.
As a fan, how important is it to know the back story of a recruit?
“They’re two great little guys,” Speight said of his mischief-making siblings. “Well, they’re not ‘little’ anymore, but they’ll always be little to me. They’ve kept me in check and made sure that my head didn’t get too big. They’ve always been there for me.”
Speight comes from a family of athletes. His father was an outstanding basketball player, a trait that he likely picked up from his father, Bob Speight, whose jersey is retired at North Carolina State. Athleticism has made its way down a few branches of the Speight family tree—that much is true.
But Wilton and Grandpa Bob have a little competition from Jess.
“He is most likely going to play college football if he sticks with it,” Wilton said. “He’s got a freak body and skill set—I think he’ll be the best athlete in this family.”
When Wilton isn’t being terrorized by his younger brothers, he concentrates on golf—just one of four sports that he excels at while playing.
“I’m getting pretty good,” he said. “I’m down to a six- or seven-handicap. My dad has always played it. My grandfather has always played it. I’ve always played it—but I’ve never had enough time to focus on it and get good at it. Now that I have more free time, I’ve gotten more serious about it. I’ve played since I was about six or seven.”
Picking up the clubs is a little different than playing lacrosse, a sport that once occupied Speight’s springs. But a past MCL injury and broken collarbone prompt him to take it easy these days. He’s saving himself for his senior year of high school football and he wants to make sure that he’s in top shape when he steps foot on Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus.
He does, though, find a way to liken the links to the gridiron—he’s still a football player, mind you.
“It’s mentally challenging,” he said. “You have to stay calm. That’s very relatable to playing quarterback at a high level. It’s nice to get out there and not worry about getting hurt and be competitive when I’m not playing football.”
Speight enjoys the simple things in life; going out to lunches with his “good buddies” Jack, Owen and David serve as a way to get away from it all. Jack is Speight’s “go-to guy” as a receiver, but he’s also a great person to kick back with.
Speight’s crew of three “couldn’t care less” if he’s on his way to Michigan to play for coach Hoke. In fact, football is often the last thing that they talk about.
“They’ve been with me through everything,” Speight said. “We’ve always been really close and we do pretty much everything together and have a good time.”
Maybe “everything” includes matching football socks and cleats. That’s another hobby of Speight’s. He makes sure his “sock game is on-point” each and every chance he gets. And don’t forget about the footgear, either—the shoes have to match one of Collegiate’s three uniform combinations.
“It’s not OCD or anything,” Speight replied with a chuckle when asked if his affinity for sock matching was a little compulsive. “If I’m going to go out there and throw for 300 or 400 yards, I better look good doing it.”
Feel like you know Speight yet? Well, there’s more information to process.
The Derrick Green Connection
They’ve never met face-to-face but have “talked on Facebook a few times.”
Speight couldn’t speak highly enough of Green, who will surely compete for a starting role in 2013 as a true freshman. Speight complimented the Hermitage program, saying that it’s far and above most area teams.
Speight’s taste in music is quite mellow. A lot of athletes prefer high-tempo tunes to get them amped up for a big contest. Speight, though, is prone to listening to a little Dave Matthews Band before he takes the field instead of today’s mainstream rock and hip-hop artists.
“(DMB) is a good, relaxing band that I listen to,” Speight said. “He always comes to Charlottesville— that’s where he’s from—and he goes to Virginia Beach during the summer; I’m always down there hanging with friends. I’ve been to four concerts.”
Wheelin’ and Dealin’
Competition is never too far away from Speight, who finds ways to beat his friends unintentionally.
The latest craze at Collegiate is a card game called “Capitalism.” Speight explained the rules to a certain extent, but then opted for an easier approach when it came to laying down the ins and outs of his new talent.
“It has a few sophisticated rules,” he said. “It’s pretty complicated, but if you watch a couple of hands, you understand better.”
Basically, the object is to systematically take away cards from opponents—and Speight is quite good at it.
“Everyone starts with eight or nine cards in their hand—you can play with four people, up to seven people. You try to get rid of your cards as fast as possible," he said.
Free period at Collegiate will never be the same.
The Michigan Moment
Speight considered playing college basketball years ago -- do you think he should try out for Michigan?
When Speight was five, his father taught him the five-step drop. When he was seven, dear old dad taught Speight the seven-stop drop—at age seven.
See a pattern there?
Since kindergarten, Speight dreamt of playing football for a high-level Division I program. He shot for the stars and landed as planned.
He’s spent hours upon hours honing his quarterbacking craft. Thanks to his father and great training, Speight will get a chance to live out his childhood aspirations.
“Once I committed to Michigan, that’s when I said to myself, ‘it’s finally here and it’s happening for sure,’” he said. “It was a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Follow Bleacher Report Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
Quotes from Speight were obtained firsthand Tuesday, May 7, 2013 during a 40-minute phone interview.
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