It has thus far been a strong senior season for Sean Wiser, the wide receiver and safety at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian School. The 6'2" two-way talent has 455 yards on 28 catches for nine touchdowns to date on offense, to go with 32 tackles on defense. The numbers may not startle, but they are representative of a splendid season while Wiser's school is blowing out every opponent they face.
Oaks Christian is scoring an average of 56 points per game this season, and only twice all year have they given up 10 or more points. Their closest contest was a 47-17 manhandling of vaunted Venice on the road. More amazing is the fact that these beatdowns are being accomplished with the Lions leaving their star players like Wiser on the field for a half or less of most games. Thus, we have to dig beyond the stats to see what Wiser is accomplishing this season.
"I'm more of a rounded receiver this year," he begins. "Last year I was a lot more of a possession receiver. This year I have had more big plays and breakout plays than last season. I think I worked hard in the off-season with my speed. It's paid off with more touchdowns and more breakout plays... I've been happy with this season. I've been able to run and beat guys with the deep post or a streak. Also, I can take a slant, make people miss and beat everybody."
"At safety, I've been a lot more physical," Wiser offers on defense. "I don't have any interceptions, which is a bummer, but I'm making more tackles. I'm bigger, stronger and hitting guys harder... Only two teams have really thrown against us. I've had missed opportunities [for interceptions] I didn't take hold of, but it's tough when teams keep the ball on the ground."
As much fun as a 7-0 season with national acclaim and games televised on Fox Sports and ESPN2 might seem, it would be easy to rest upon the ease of Oaks Christian's domination. But Wiser and his bevy of blue chip teammates take their few opportunities in the early going of each game to shine and improve.
"We only play half of the game, but that's our time," he explains. "That's our window of opportunity to get better, or we get worse. We have to take advantage of any chance to get better."
The question on more people's minds is which college opportunity Wiser will take. His recruiting horizon changed a good deal from when we talked with him during the spring and summer. He was set for some time on a decision between Stanford and Virginia, with unofficial visits to the former and a schedule Labor Day Weekend official trip to the latter. The plan was to make his college commitment as soon as he saw Charlottesville, but that changed with a full-court press from Oregon. Wiser opted to take an official trip to Eugene the week after his jaunt back East. Wiser had a front row seat for the infamous Oregon-Oklahoma game, which was a rockin' time in addition to the officiating controversy.
Another factor that affected his outlook was the Stanford admissions process. Wiser was working on the application packet, and that added time to the equation. Now, the some picture is coming into focus for Scout.com's #77 player in California.
"Right now, it's Stanford and Oregon. Then Virginia," the recruit reveals. "I'm starting to hear a little bit from Notre Dame, too. They have asked for senior film, and they're recruiting me as a wide receiver. I'm not sure where that is going to take me."
Ignoring the Irish for the moment, while they have yet to offer, it is worth asking what happened to Virginia. The ACC power has pulled in top recruiting classes consistently in recent years, yet they have dropped from a leading favorite/top two to third on Wiser's list.
"I had a really good time on my trip and really enjoyed the coaches," the receiver reports on UVA. "But the team has struggled. Stanford has had a hard time, too, but Stanford is closer to home. Stanford also has networking clout on the West Coast."
The Cardinal also cleared a big hurdle with Wiser when he learned earlier this month that he was admitted to the school.
"I received a text message from Coach [Tom] Freeman to call him after my game," he recalls. "It was a major leap for me. I was really excited. What a big relief. All my hard work paid off. I worked over the summer on the application and got it done."
"Now I can really examine Stanford as a school," Wiser continues. "I don't have to worry about being denied. I was definitely considering Stanford all along. It was always one of my top choices. But if I messed up my essays and didn't get it, that would have wiped them off."
"I definitely really like Stanford," he says. "They have the academics, and I can go in and play pretty quickly. They have receivers who are injured, and they're very thin right now."
The next step - possibly the last in his recruitment - will come next week when he takes his official visit to Stanford.
"I'm going to take my trip to the USC game. Hopefully that will be good," Wiser shares. "I want to look at the social aspect and see how I fit in with the guys. I have a pretty good understanding of the program by now. It's a question of seeing if you fit in the school while it is in session. I'll not just be a football player in college; I'll also be a student."
If this does end up a Stanford vs. Oregon decision, that might look like an odd pairing for an Oaks Christian standout. The Cardinal are trying to rebuild their program while the Ducks have been flying high - the latter much closer in resembling Oaks Christian's football success.
"It's definitely part of my perspective, coming from a school with a 37-game winning streak," Wiser says of Stanford.. "It's tough because I enjoy winning, but you have an optimistic feeling that you can make a difference. Everyone's dream is to become an impact player."
For the Ducks or Cardinal, his approaching decision will make an impact on their recruiting year. Stay tuned to The Bootleg for news on Sean Wiser after his Stanford official visit, which could push him toward a college commitment.
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