Keith Ross hasn’t made it a secret that Ben Wilson is the best athlete he’s ever coached.
But what Ross loves most about Sumner High School’s soon-to-be senior is Wilson’s humility and demeanor — on and off the field.
“I like to call him the humble homewrecker,” Ross said.
Because on the field, Wilson destroys.
Off it, he’s a listener and introvert — not speaking much unless spoken to.
“I’m known as a quiet guy,” Wilson said. “But as soon as I step on the field, people tell me I’m a different person. I put everything onto the field.”
On Friday he announced that he has verbally committed to play football at TCU, mostly because it reminds him of home.
“The biggest factor for me was that it reminds of Sumner,” Wilson said. “It’s a small campus, the coaches are similar to Coach Ross, they will push you to your best and they showed me that on my visit, as well. It just felt like home.”
Wilson was also considering offers from Arizona State, Cal, Louisville, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington State.
If quarterbacks don’t at first notice Wilson and his long locks lining up in the middle of Sumner’s defense, they do soon enough.
He was a thumping force for Sumner state semifinal team. He’s received 14 of his 17 scholarship offers since the end of the season and he has offers from nine schools in the Pac-12 – including UW and WSU.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound soon-to-be senior is considered a four-star recruit by Scout.com and is ranked as the 13th best inside linebacker in the nation, third-best in the West Region and best in the state.
Wilson’s outstanding junior season included 123 solo tackles and 78 assisted tackles. Sumner’s next best tackler was Skyler Sandretzky, who had 61 solo tackles.
He also had a team-best 16 tackles for loss and 8½ sacks in 13 games and picked off two passes, including one in the 4A state semifinals against Camas that he returned for a touchdown.
“I committed earlier this week, but I felt like it was time,” said Wilson. He also informed other colleges of his decision to shut down his recruitment earlier this week. “I felt 100 percent sure and I didn’t want to lose that spot and I wanted to join that revolution they have going.
“It’s just a lot of stress off my shoulders. It feels good to be a Carter Boy (TCU’s plays at Amon G. Carter Stadium).”
But as well as he can hit opposing quarterbacks and running backs, he can hit a baseball just as well – Wilson played in both the state football and state baseball tournaments this year.
He batted third in Sumner’s batting order, leading the team with 30 hits. He had a .375 batting average with 26 RBIs, eight doubles, three triples and two home runs in 80 at-bats as a third baseman. He also pitched occasionally and tied for the team lead in stolen bases (eight).
He said he’s like to play for TCU’s baseball team — which is currenly in Omaha for the College World Series.
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot and if I can play baseball and that’s OK with the coaches, then I would love to,” Wilson said. “But if it’s not working within my time frame and if I get too overloaded then I probably won’t.”
This makes two Sumner football players in two years to commit to an FBS school, with Wilson joining Stanford-University bound Connor Wedington, who was The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year. And Sumner’s Tre Weed, a standout wide receiver, running back and defensive back, will likely join that list.
Before Wedington, Sumner’s last student-athlete to play at an FBS school was Tom Slevet (Notre Dame) and Craig Goodwin (WSU) in the early 1960s.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677