Gavin Wimsatt has been doing double practice duty some this spring.
He has been working through spring drills with Owensboro High School’s football team, where he is approaching his third year as a starter at quarterback and heading into his senior season.
He has also been with the OHS track and field team, doing triple jump and discus along with running a relay.
Wimsatt looked smooth throwing the ball and working with a variety of receivers during a practice as the final week of spring practice is here.
“Just working on the basics, getting the underclassmen in, getting them used to running again, getting everybody back in the spirit of things,” Wimsatt said. “We have one (receiver) coming back from last year. We’ve got some newer guys. The underclassmen, they’re not used to practicing full time with us. I’m just helping everybody with formations, plays, moving them around.”
Wimsatt has had a more relaxed spring because he committed to Rutgers in early April. The destination was a surprise in a lot of circles, especially those of the Blue and White variety.
The consensus of UK football recruiting observers was that Wimsatt was the top UK target for the 2022 class from Kentucky.
He is a 4-star quarterback who at 6-foot3, 200 pounds, is considered one of the best dual threat players in the country. He is the best prospect in the 2022 class in Kentucky.
There are three other 4-star recruits in the 2022 class that want to go to Rutgers and four linemen ranked in the Top 100 prospects at 247Sports, which ranked Wimsatt the 89th best overall prospect in the country.
It was a major commit for Rutgers after Wimsatt listened to recruiting pitches from Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Michigan, Michigan State and others before deciding on the school in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and his offensive coordinator, Sean Gleeson, made the best impression with how they made Wimsatt feel at home.
They took a very strong interest in Wimsatt and it had an impact.
An NCAA recruiting dead period has been in place because of the coronavirus, and that kept Wimsatt from making on-campus visits or having in-person interaction with coaches at all.
“I couldn’t talk to (coaches) until Sept. 1 of last year, they could text us,” Wimsatt said.
The NCAA allowed coaches to call recruits and families by phone on Feb. 1.
“When they passed a rule where coaches could call us, that’s when everything started heating up,” Wimsatt said.
As the early April commitment period started, intrigue grew over where Wimsatt would commit. The schools that came up most were Kentucky, Rutgers and Cincinnati.
“I just thought Rutgers fit me overall, Kentucky did a great job recruiting, great job with everything, I just thought Rutgers was a better fit,” Wimsatt said.
Both Wimsatt and OHS head coach Jay Fallin emphasized that their relationship with UK recruiting coordinator and associate head coach Vince Marrow, head coach Mark Stoops and other coaches was good.
“In the end I think he felt more at home and felt Rutgers was the place for him,” Fallin said. “Their offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson did a really good job building a relationship with him and did sort of selling his vision of how he sees Gavin in their offense, and what they can do for him as far as developing him as a player.
“They built a really good relationship with him and his parents especially, he just felt at home, and felt he’d have the best opportunity to be successful there. They sold Gavin on they see him as the future cornerstone of their offense.”
Wimsatt has thrown for 4,799 yards and 57 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He has rushed for 972 yards and 18 more scores. He is 24-3 as a starter at OHS, which made it to the Class 5-A state championship game in 2020.
Wimsatt didn’t play basketball this season in order to work out with a quarterback trainer in Paducah.
“I feel great throwing the ball,” he said. “Definitely, my throwing motion feels way better, it’s coming out cleaner, faster.”
Wimsatt will look to improve both in the leadership areas where he already is strong and his quarterbacking skills as a senior year.
“He is relieved, and it’s like a weight off his shoulders. It’s a big decision to be made, a lot of people have invested a lot in you,” Fallin said of the recruiting process.
It was a learning experience for Wimsatt.
“I just got really comfortable with them over time,” Wimsatt said of Rutgers. “The process was fun, it was stressful for sure, a lot goes into it that people don’t see. It was long, it was fun, but it was stressful.”