COLUMBIA, Mo. — Raymond Wingo wants to be a Tiger.
The standout cornerback prospect from St. Louis University High School in St. Louis made a verbal commitment to Missouri on Tuesday morning. Well, more accurately, he was trying to.
Wingo, who picked the Tigers over Michigan State, Auburn and Arkansas, was attempting to call Mizzou assistant coach Cornell Ford to make a verbal commitment, but the coaches were at practice.
“When I went on the visit, I just fell in love with it,” said Wingo, who is a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com and is rated the 30th-best cornerback prospect in the senior class by Rivals. “I loved the coaches and the atmosphere.”
Wingo, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, took his official visit to Columbia over the weekend. After thinking about it a little longer, he made his decision Tuesday morning.
He cited the opportunity to come in and possibly play early as a factor. The Tigers start two seniors, E.J. Gaines and Randy Ponder, at cornerback, so those spots will be open. In addition, a true freshman, Aarion Penton from CBC High School, was one of their second-team cornerbacks this season — a good sign for young players.
“That’s a key,” Wingo said. “I don’t know anybody that wants to come and redshirt. Having a chance to come up and have a chance to play, that’s a plus for me.”
Wingo, whose older brother Ronnie played running back at Arkansas, has established himself as a versatile playmaker at the high school level and is one of the fastest prospects in the state.
He was a St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro first-team selection as a junior, when he racked up 1,733 total yards (1,379 rushing, 202 passing, 152 receiving) as a quarterback and wide receiver and was credited with 23 tackles and a team-high five interceptions. He accounted for a total of 27 touchdowns (20 rushing, five on returns, two passing).
His numbers were down this fall because he missed time with a hamstring injury, but Wingo still racked up 723 total yards (482 rushing, 241 receiving) and scored nine touchdowns on offense and recorded 24 tackles and two interceptions from his cornerback spot.
Wingo was happy to have his decision over with.
After seeing the recruiting process unfold for his brother, who picked Arkansas over Mizzou, Wingo had a difficult decision to make after being offered scholarships by several Southeastern Conference, Big Ten and Big 12 schools.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “I feel different. There was so much stress put on me all this time.”
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