Dante Wigley is keeping his mind free of expectations for his freshman season at Georgia Tech. The cornerback from Carrollton doesn’t have his hopes specifically set on playing this season.
“I haven’t really set any goals,” he said. “I just want to go in and do the best I can, hopefully get on the field.”
A quick-accelerating, physical corner who earned first-team all-state honors as a senior, Wigley was targeted by Tech early on in recruiting. He committed last July after a visit where he saw Tech greats Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas and former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford working out together in the indoor facility.
That wasn’t all of Tech he noticed.
“My first time touring the whole campus, I really didn’t know the campus was like that,” he said. “It was just like its own little community.”
Wigley’s impression underscores a challenge that the school often has in recruiting, whether it's football players or aspiring rocket scientists (or a combination thereof). Located less than two miles from Atlanta’s downtown and alongside I-75/85, it can be easy to surmise that the campus has an urban feel and not boast green spaces and tree-lined streets.
Said Wigley, “When I think of Atlanta, I just think of all the big buildings, but when you get inside the campus, it’s not like that.”
Wigley comes in at an interesting time. Tech’s depth chart lists seniors among the four starters at cornerback and the two safety spots. In a year’s time, more spots will be open. Step Durham and Lance and Lawrence Austin, potential starters at cornerback, will be juniors. Lynn Griffin, expected to start at nickel back, will be a senior. Most other expected backfield returnees in 2016, such as Shaun Kagawa and Corey Griffin, are likely safeties.
"I've got a chance to get on the field (this season)," he said. "I've just got to go in there and work as hard as I can. That's all it is."
At corner, Wigley and fellow incoming freshman Meiko Dotson will be the young blood in the group.
“I’m excited,” Wigley said. “I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m excited.”
1. Just prior to reporting, the 6-foot- Wigley said he weighed 183 or 184 pounds. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger, gained some weight,” he said. “I’m feeling good.”
2. At 6-1, Wigley is the tallest corner on the roster.
3. Wigley was primarily recruited by linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum. “I love him,” Wigley said. “He’s got a great personality. He’s funny, just fun to be around. You can talk about anything with him.”
McCollum’s gregarious style and sense of humor set him off from other recruiters to Wigley. “It really made a big difference,” he said. “Some of the recruiters are, like, really boring. … Their personality just isn’t really good or aren’t just fun to be around. Coach McCollum, he’s down to earth. He’s really funny. You can’t help but get along with him.”
4. Wigley rides dirt bikes recreationally. He has ridden since he was four, he said, at his grandmother’s home in Temple. He owns a Kawasaki motorbike.
5. Georgia showed strong interest in Wigley towards the end of the football season. “They were calling me every week, wanting me to come up to visit, all that stuff,” he said. Wigley, who did not grow up a fan of either team (he actually was a Clemson fan), was not interested. “I told all the other coaches, ‘I’m done with my recruitment,’” he said.
6. Wigley graduated from Carrollton High, the same as A-back Broderick Snoddy.
7. Wigley has been issued jersey No. 26, which was worn last year by defensive back Zach Allen, who is now wearing No. 21.
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