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April 26, 2007When Student Sports makes its annual tour around the nation putting on NIKE Camps, it is not only an opportunity for participating players to learn training and playing techniques, it is a chance to make a name for themselves and in some instances, a chance to display their talents in front of college coaches.
At last weekend's Athens NIKE Camp, Gainesville (Ga.) defensive end Keith Wells took advantage of that opportunity, turning in one of the better performances and is now seeing programs step to the table with new offers because of it.
At the camp, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end had an opportunity to compete against some top offensive linemen as well as compare himself to the other defensive ends at the camp.
Wells said that at the end of the day, he felt he had a productive camp.
"It was real competitive," said Wells. "There were a lot of great players there, but I went in with a lot of confidence knowing that in my heart I was the best defensive end there. I was competing trying to get some of the coaches there to notice me. I wanted to stand out above the crowd.
"They (the coaches) have seen some tape, but I didn't want to disappoint them seeing me with their own two eyes. Film is one thing, seeing me in person showed them that I'm the real deal. I earned some respect and I'll be getting some offers because of how I played out there."
Wells said he noticed one college coach in particular at the event.
"(Georgia coach) Jon Fabris, basically everywhere I went, if I looked over my shoulder, he was there. I was definitely trying to impress him. I'm trying to show them I'm the best defensive end in Georgia."
Whether or not he impressed enough to earn an offer remains to be seen. However - what is known is that he impressed others in attendance.
After the camp, Rivals.com recruiting analysts J.C. Shurburtt and Mike Farrell named him to the Student Sports Hot 11.
Shurburtt had this to say about him, "Wells has a great frame, has a quick first step and is fast. He will need to add weight, but that shouldn't be a problem given his build. He was impressive during agility and position drills in Athens and held his own during the one-on-ones."
The camp performance is just one of the many reasons college coaches from around the southeast are beating down his door this week.
"Yesterday (Wednesday) coach (Urban) Meyer came to the school. I was impressed seeing him there coming off of winning the (National) Championship. I didn't know he was the coach that was coming until about ten minutes before he got here. That blew me away."
Meyer may have been the only head coach to stop by Gainesville thus far, but he hasn't been the only college coach, not by any stretch of the imagination.
"Coach (Greg) Nord from Louisville came to school, they offered me. Today LSU had coach (Greg) Mallory and Florida State had coach (Jody) Allen here. Tomorrow Alabama is coming."
When it comes to sorting through all the coaching visits, offers and attention, Wells has focused on a select few that he is interested in knowing more about.
"Definitely schools like UGA, Florida and Georgia Tech and the schools that have shown me that they're really interested in me by offering me like Louisville, South Carolina, Boston College, Marshall and North Carolina."
If there is a program that has the early lead, it would have to be the home state Bulldogs.
"It's still early. I want to take my time and make a good decision, but every kid in this state wants to be offered by the University of Georgia. UGA is definitely a favorite right now. It's still early so I'm not going to make any drastic decisions right now."
Gainesville's spring football starts on Monday, but don't expect to see Wells out on the practice fields. The talented big man participates in multiple track and field events for his high school.
"On Monday and Tuesday I have a track meet," explained Wells. "I'm doing the 200 (meters), the high jump, the 4x400 relay and the 4x100 relay. And I used to do the triple jump also."
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