This is the 10th in a series of Q&A's with Bi-City recruits in the Class of 2016. Coming Thursday: Central’s Quan Weaver.
Different recruits have different stories about their recruiting experiences. Some get noticed early, others late. Some, like Central linebacker Walter Pritchett, take some time to gain the attention of college coaches, but leave themselves enough time to keep proving themselves.
Pritchett began to get attention after his junior year in 2014. Now a rising senior, he hopes to give scouts even more reason to bet on him at the next level.
With lofty goals — 20 sacks and 20 tackles for loss — in his senior season, he has given himself a high ceiling.
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Pritchett spoke with the Ledger-Enquirer about those goals, his future and his hopes for Central in 2015.
So how is the recruiting process going so far? What’s it been like for you?
It’s different for everybody. Some players get recruited out of camps, some out of film, some just from the size. It’s been a little different for me. Some teammates started getting their offers pretty early. Sometimes I did get a little discouraged because it didn’t happen for me, but I had a couple coaches in my ear telling me to stay up and they’ll come sooner or later. They’re here now, and I’m just trying to stay humble and be the same person.
When did you start to get more attention?
I think after my junior year, a week or two out of playoffs I had some schools get in touch with me. I think they had seen my film and were impressed, so I got my first offer in January and I’m up to 10 now.
Could you name those off?
Let’s see — Troy, Appalachian State, Georgia State, Mercer, Furman, Navy, Air Force, Georgia Southern, South Alabama. I think that’s nine of them.
Have you narrowed it down yet?
I’m still trying to look at all of them. I have a pretty good idea of where I want to end up. I’m basing it off of — you know, sometimes a player gets an offer because an opposing school offers them, so I’m basing it off of who came at me first and who wants me the most.
What have you heard about what they like about you as a player?
They like my “tweener” size. I’m in between a defensive end and a linebacker. They like my pass rushing ability, and they like my character. They like that they’ve only heard good stuff about me.
How much is that emphasized nowadays? The character aspect?
They do emphasize that. Usually when I talk to a coach the first time, they say they want good character guys. I know they follow me on Twitter, so we have to watch what we say. Some stuff can be taken the wrong way. I’ve gotten a couple texts from Coach (Jamey) DuBose saying, you know, that might not be the right thing to say or something like that.
What have you heard about what you need to improve on for the next level?
Getting bigger, for the most part. I’m about 215 right now, but I need to gain about 20 or 30 pounds if I want to survive at the next level. Once you get to the next level, they’re all talented and they’re all big.
What kind of goals have you set for yourself this year or beyond?
Stat-wise, I want 20 sacks and I want 20 (tackles for loss), I want 75 tackles. As a team, I want to win the region and I want a state championship.
This defense had a lot of talent last year, but at times maybe gave up more than you would have liked. What’s different this year?
We’re more mature. We’ve played some good teams, so now we know what it takes to be at the top. We’re more dedicated and we’re more together. Sometimes we’ll have our own workouts without the coaches. We’re working to get there because we know what it takes now.
Getting a taste last year — being one of the top teams — what does that do for you guys this year?
It just makes you hungrier. There were still doubters that didn’t believe we could get over the hump last year, and sadly, when we lost to Prattville (in the quarterfinals), we proved them right. So, we’re just working on proving everybody wrong. We just want to give it our all, give it our best.
David Mitchell, Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.