Columbus High cornerback Essang Bassey had almost everything when it came to his college recruitment. He had elite production on the field and fantastic reports from scouts at camps. He had speed, athleticism and three stars on most recruiting outlets.
The only thing he was missing was the major college offers.
“I thought I was going to get offered after my sophomore season,” Bassey explained on Wednesday. “Maybe entering my junior year. But when they didn’t come, I didn’t get discouraged. I just continued to not necessarily work harder, but smarter. Doing things I know coaches and recruiters look for. I just stayed the course, trusted the process and eventually things worked out for me.”
The offers started coming, and last Friday he received one from Wake Forest after going to a camp at the school on June 5. He officially committed to the school on Monday, and now the prospect of playing against elite competition in the Atlantic Coast Conference is becoming a reality.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m a competitor and I’ve always felt that I could play at that high level of competition. So, now it’s about taking full advantage of that opportunity.”
The opportunity is a big one: Playing against teams like Florida State, which won the national title in 2014 and played in the inaugural College Football Playoff this past season, Georgia Tech, which won the Orange Bowl, and Clemson, among others.
But that’s not the only reason he chose the Demon Deacons.
“Wake is a private school with great academics and a football program I truly believe is on the rise,” he said.
Bassey recorded 31 tackles, 10 passes broken up and five interceptions on defense last year, along with 39 receptions for 503 yards and four touchdowns on offense. He is the sixth area player to commit to a major Division-I school in the Class of 2016. Other committed players are Central’s John Broussard (Auburn) and Jamal Couch (Florida State), Carver’s Javontay Smith (North Carolina), Jordan’s Markus Wright (California) and Smiths Station’s Vada King (Southern Miss).