This is the ninth in a series of Q&A's with Bi-City recruits in the Class of 2016. Coming Saturday: Central’s Walter Pritchett.
Recruiting was a waiting game for Columbus cornerback Essang Bassey.
At college camps, he would get the attention of interested coaches and saw his name rise on recruiting websites, but for whatever reason the offers didn’t come in.
He waited through his sophomore and junior seasons until, finally, this past spring he got his first offers. On June 19, Wake Forest offered him a scholarship, and he committed to the Demon Deacons five days later.
He spoke with the Ledger-Enquirer about the ups and downs of his recruiting journey, his goals for this season and what he needs to do to continue to prove the doubters wrong.
What was this whole process like for you — the waiting, the hoping, wondering when you’d get your shot?
The majority of the time, it was just an anxious feeling. I started trying to get looked at around my sophomore year. When that didn’t come right away, I waited until my junior year and thought it would happen then. I just kept waiting. I’d take visits, and coaches would show interest, but you just never know how interested they are. When it finally came this spring, it was just a relief.
Yeah, go into a little more detail about that. How big of a relief was that to start getting some offers come in?
For me, I just felt like it was about time, to be honest. I worked so hard, my parents made so many sacrifices. It was worth the wait.
You committed to Wake Forest a couple weeks ago. Why did you choose them?
It’s a private school with great academics and a football team that I truly believe is on the rise. Having the opportunity to play against top competition in the ACC is just a great opportunity for me.
Have you thought about what it will be like to play against some of the best competition in the country — Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson?
It feels great. I’m a competitor. I’ve always felt like I could play at that level, so now it’s about taking full advantage of that opportunity.
What is it that you know you need to focus on improving over the next year before you take the next step?
I play cornerback. Nowadays, they like long, 6-foot corners, and I don’t have that kind of size. But I have a lot of speed and athleticism, and I have a really strong (vertical leap). People will be bigger. It sounds cliche, but I just have to keep getting bigger, faster and stronger.
What kind of goals have you set for your senior season before you leave?
I’d like to make All-Bi-City again, and Dandy Dozen is something I’ve always looked at, too. I also know there’s an interception record at Columbus that I haven’t passed but I’m close to. I’m not sure what the number is.
How exciting is it to know that no matter what happens over the next year, you have a home in college?
It’s just satisfying for me and my parents. I’m putting myself in a great spot for academics and athletics, no matter what direction I choose to go. I’ll just be in a great position to succeed.
David Mitchell, Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.