Wooten Commits to WSSU
Jarrin Wooten made a visit to Winston-Salem State University last Thursday and found a lot to his liking.
The Pinecrest High School football and basketball standout made an oral commitment to play football for the Division I Rams next fall under a full scholarship. He also learned during the visit that there would be a place for him on the basketball team.
The Patriot senior plans to seal the commitment by inking a national letter-of-intent on college football's official signing day, Wednesday, February 4.
"They were actually the first team to talk to me in October while the season was still going on," Wooten said after Friday's home basketball game. "I saw the facilities and talked to some of the advisers about what I want to major in. I just thought it would be a good place to go."
Wooten earned all-conference honors as a junior in basketball and is scoring at a 16-point per game pace this season. A late bloomer in football, the 6-foot-5 athlete missed most of his freshman season because of an injury and did not play at all as a sophomore.
Starting at the wide receiver position for the first time as a senior, Wooten finished with 27 catches for 501 yards and five touchdowns. He caught five for 103 yards in a win over Scotland County. In the Patriots' playoff loss at Hoggard, he had three grabs for 98 yards, including one for 83 yards and a touchdown.
He was a member of a Patriot squad that finished with a record of 7-5, its most victories since 1987.
Wooten picked Winston-Salem State over a number of other schools that made offers, including the Naval Academy, Holy Cross, Liberty, Colgate, Lehigh, Lafayette and North Carolina Central.
"The recruiting for Jarrin really heated up," Pinecrest head football coach Chris Metzger said. "He was Winston's No. 1 prospect, and I think that helps when a Div. I college says you're our No. 1 guy.
"We're just ecstatic as a football staff and we're happy for his mom."
Kermit Blount is 90-77-3 in 16 years as the head football coach of the Rams. The team finished 3-8 last season. Wooten was recruited by receivers' coach Kevin Downing.
"I've got a real good relationship with Coach Downing," Wooten said. "He's been up front, he didn't promise me anything, and told me I'd have to come in and work hard like everybody else. I respect that a lot."
Winston-Salem State is beginning the fourth year of its transition from Div. II to Div. I. Under NCAA change in classification rules, the Rams won't be eligible to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title, or qualify for the Div. I football playoffs (won by Appalachian state in 2005, 2006 and 2007) until 2011.
Knowing that he would also have an opportunity to play basketball helped Wooten make his decision. He should feel right at home as a member of the Ram basketball team which is also making the transition. The head coach is former Pinecrest star Bobby Collins. One of his assistants, Ken Spencer, was a basketball teammate of Collins at Pinecrest.
Wooten made the visit with his mother, Dashonda Weatherly. He already has a good idea about what he wants to do after college.
"I've always felt my passion was kids and teaching, so I'm going to major in early education."
Before last season, Metzger called his starting receiving corps, that also included senior Spencer Bishop and junior James Baldwin, as good as any set in the state. All three have received attention from recruiters along with other senior members of the team. The Patriot coach thinks Feb. 4 is going to be an exciting time for the football program.
"It's a great day at Pinecrest," the Patriot coach said of the news about Wooten. "Jarrin learned a lot about life in the recruiting process. Winston is getting a much better person than a player, and he's a great player."
Charlie Bergmann can be reached at email@example.com. com.
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