It was a tight race for a little while, but, eventually the Bulldogs pulled away.
Poly Prep senior lineman Isaiah Wilson — the No. 2 football prospect in the country according to ESPN — announced his commitment to the University of Georgia on Dec. 16, in front of a crowd of his classmates and a “Facebook Live” stream audience of more than 8,000.
The Canarsie native also considered offers from Alabama and Michigan, but said the opportunity with the Bulldogs was simply too good to pass up.
“For a while I was stuck between all three. And then slowly ’Bama crept ahead and Michigan kind of evened it out and then Georgia just took off like Usain Bolt,” Wilson said. “Started smiling when he finished the race. I found home.”
Wilson announced his commitment during Poly’s annual holiday assembly and was presented with a real pooch by the school’s head of school Audrius Barzdukas — a moment the player said he’d never forget.
“I saw the class [Georgia] built and I was around the guys during my official visit and everything just clicked,” he said. “We’re definitely going to do something special.”
Wilson came into his senior season as a five-star recruit and the 6-foot-7, 350-pound lineman lived up to his ranking every time he suited up. He was all but impossible to stop on either side of the line, simply too big and strong for opposing squads to slow down.
He never worried about the expectations, however, just focused on helping the Blue Devils win football games. His success and consistency drew interest from just about every Division I football program in the country and made Wilson the undisputed leader in the locker room this fall.
“We had a sophomore line, except for Isaiah and he never left the field,” Poly coach Kevin Fountaine said. “He helped those kids get better. Now he’s getting to the next level, I think his ceiling is still on the rise.”
Wilson originally planned to announce his commitment on Christmas Day, but opted to move up the decision after visiting Georgia earlier this month and meeting with Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart. He spoke at length with his family about the choice and realized there was, simply, no point in waiting.
“Why delay something if you know it’s right for you?” Wilson said. “I knew and once I knew, talked to my parents, let them feel it out, we came to a decision. There was no need to withhold anything.”
Wilson plans to play exclusively on the offensive line at Georgia and while he was confident he could start anywhere, there was something special about the Bulldogs. He took an unofficial visit over the summer, meeting with coaches and players and immediately felt the spark.
“It’s kind of like when you meet up with a family member you haven’t seen in years and you guys still click,” Wilson said. “That was the feeling I got. It just seemed like it worked.”
The decision is an enormous weight off Wilson’s shoulders. He tweeted earlier this month that he didn’t want to answer questions about recruiting anymore and, now, the Poly senior is focused on the next step of his career. He’ll sign officially in February and plans to enroll at Georgia in June – ready to build something special with the ’Dogs.
“This recruiting class is already freakish,” Wilson said. “The players there want to get better, they know they’re going to be contenders and I felt that’s one big thing — I could somebody ascend to the next level.”