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Anybody who talked to Class of 2013 prospect Chocolate Wilson on Sunday knew he was ready to give a verbal commitment to Marshall after his official visit to the Conference USA school.
In an interview with Herd Nation, Wilson said the phrase "I loved it" about his trip to Huntington no less than 10 times in a 10-minute span.
"It was great," said Wilson, who is a 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback from Myrtle Beach High School in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "It was fantastic. I loved it. I connected with all of the coaches and players. They treated me like family.
"They talked about education, which is big for me," he added. "I loved it. I took a campus tour and talked to some of the students I met. They said the same thing as the coaches and players, so I know it's true that Marshall is a great place. I got the background of the whole Marshall thing. It's all about the community there. It's a football town. Everything meshes together. It just felt like a family. I loved it."
So much so, in fact, that Wilson called his lead recruiter, wide receivers coach Gerad Parker, shortly after he arrived home to give a verbal commitment to the Thundering Herd.
"I'm part of the family," Wilson told Herd Nation later that evening, referring to his commitment. "I called Coach Parker, and he congratulated me."
Wilson and four other official visitors attended Marshall's 77-56 basketball victory versus East Carolina on Saturday night. They also took a campus tour, which included a face-to-face meeting with Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp.
"He told us how they treat their players and care for them," said Wilson, whose player host was linebacker Cortez Carter. "That kind of made a light bulb turn on in my head. That was big. He told us the education is good, but you have to come here and put in work; nothing is handed to you. I liked how he talked to us. He was honest and straightforward."
Asked if his official visit made him think better or worse about Marshall, Wilson said: "Definitely better. At first, I was shook up coming from Myrtle Beach to West Virginia; I thought there was going to be a big difference (in the weather), but the cold really wasn't that cold."
Wilson is a three-star recruit who also has scholarship offers from Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina State and Purdue. Rivals ranks him as the No. 72 cornerback prospect in America and the No. 11 overall prospect in South Carolina.
Wilson has narrowed his choices to Marshall, Purdue and Mississippi. He had planned to take official visits to Purdue and Mississippi in the final two weekends before Signing Day, but he is cancelling those trips because of his commitment to Marshall.
"I was thinking about it, and those schools are so far from home," Wilson said.
His grade point average meets the NCAA standards for initial academic eligibility, but he must raise his standardized test scores to qualify. He took the ACT for the second time in December and believes he did well enough to accomplish that goal.
If he is unable to achieve a qualifying score, Wilson said he would have no problem attending Marshall as an academic non-qualifier.
Sidelined with a knee injury, Wilson played in only two games and recorded 15 tackles this season. Nevertheless, Palmetto State coaches picked him to participate in the annual Shrine Bowl, which pits the top seniors from North Carolina and South Carolina against each other in an all-star game.
Wilson recorded 39 tackles, intercepted six passes, recovered two fumbles and scored two defensive touchdowns as a junior.
Jacob Messer is the managing editor for HerdNation.com. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments and feedback are welcome.