Tate Wildeman made two official visits late in the recruiting process. At the time of his Nov. 17 official visit to Washington State, the rumors were louder than ever about the future of former Nebraska coach Mike Riley. Despite having been committed to the Huskers since April 16, Wildeman wanted to be sure the decision was right.
The visit to Washington State — as well as the one to Colorado State on Dec. 1 — created some buzz. Wildeman remembers being misquoted that he would even flip to Washington State from Nebraska after his visit. That wasn’t the case.
“I was definitely waiting to see what was going down in Lincoln before I flipped,” the Parker (Colo.) Legend High star told Land of 10. “It wasn’t like I was just going to do that without seeing what was going to happen.”
Wildeman’s visits to the Cougars and Rams, as well as Nebraska’s hiring of coach Scott Frost, ultimately confirmed everything Wildeman already knew: Nebraska was where he wanted to be. He wasn’t the only one, either, as other remaining members of the Huskers’ 2018 recruiting class did the same.
“We went out and saw other facilities, and everywhere is kind of the same with the tours and the academics but it’s really where you feel comfortable and who you feel comfortable with,” Wildeman said. “In the end, those visits verified for me that there wasn’t another place I wanted to be except Lincoln.”
Here’s the rest of the Q&A with Wildeman:
What school came in second? Could it have done anything differently to persuade you?
“I would say Washington State. The biggest thing was being close to home, though. Lincoln was the closest place to me to still have my family come and be able to watch me.”
I forgot Washington State was high on your list. What did you think when Bill Moos left Washington State to become the athletic director at Nebraska?
“To have that happen, it really solidified how good Nebraska is for me. The fact that he clearly wanted to be in Lincoln said a lot.”
What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
“I don’t know if this is most creative, but I feel like there are a lot of false promises. They’ll tell you that if you come to their school, you’ll start right away. I think that was the biggest thing, because you can’t really guarantee a kid that he’s going to start. You’ve never seen him in a college environment or what they’re doing physically. All they have to judge is from high school film.”
What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process?
“I was definitely very upset when Nebraska was having all of its struggles last season. It was really tough to see them lose, especially considering all of the hype around them and our recruiting class before the start of last season. To see the guys in my class start to lose faith and jump ship was tough to see. When everyone left, I think there was only a few of us left that were still there and still solid. It was hard because we had to stay together and keep it together as much as possible.”
Your class looks a lot different today than it did originally. What have these last two months been like for you?
“It’s been great meeting a lot of new people. I’ve also become the main recruiter. Before, it was a lot about other recruits who had the spotlight. I’m not a big spotlight guy and I don’t really care about all of that jazz, but I had to kind of lead the recruiting and help get guys on board. It was nice to meet new people and I’m very confident in their abilities. I feel like this class with the guys we’re getting is even better than it was before.”
What is the funniest thing any head coach said to you during the entire recruiting process?
“When [Washington State coach] Mike Leach came over for dinner one night for a home visit, everything that man said was really funny overall. There wasn’t anything specific, but just that dinner was really funny. It’s also funny to see how fast his head is turning and how he’ll go from one thing to the other and be completely off topic but then he’s back to talking about football before he’s off on another topic that’s not even closely related to football.
“But he’s a really good guy, and a really funny dude.”
What was the funniest story from one of your recruiting trips?
“It was probably with Coach Leach. He has a lot of things in his office. It’s like a museum. He has a stuffed cougar in there and a stuffed pirate. He loves pirates. He talked about that a lot and it was really funny.”
What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
“I wouldn’t say I have any regrets. I think I played it pretty well. I feel like I could have gone on a couple more visits just to solidify my decision even more. I would have liked to have gone to Notre Dame and Oklahoma State for visits, but I felt really confident and I wanted to sign early. I really wanted to sign during that early signing period because I could then help get more guys on board if they could see I was all-in. That was the biggest thing.”
Which school disappointed you the most during recruiting?
“The University of Colorado definitely disappointed me. They came in really early in the recruiting process my junior year. They were sending me a bunch of stuff, I was visiting almost every single weekend and then they just altogether stopped talking to me. They never offered, they stopped talking, nothing. That happened in January of last year, so a year ago.
“Parker isn’t that far from Boulder. It’s definitely more like the hometown school. And I actually talked to [Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast defensive tackle and Wisconsin signee] Bryson Williams about that. He got offered by Iowa, Wisconsin and many others, but not Nebraska. He was like, ‘What happened?’ It had been his dream forever. I really felt for him. I don’t really know what was going through the mind of the old coaching staff on that because I’ve seen his film and he looked like a beast to me.”
If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with respect to recruiting?
“I wish we could get some free gear. I wanted some gear, because I love that stuff. I remember at my official to Nebraska, they gave us these sweats and I kept thinking I could keep it but they said we had to give it back. We were upset about that, so that’s the rule I would change.”