NEW PORT RICHEY — Already one of the most exceptional, and omnipresent, student-athletes the halls of Ridgewood High has ever known, Glass Wilson the football star is going to try on a different set of cleats.
As his prep career comes to a close, Wilson is going to give baseball a go.
"Last year I found out I was very good at the triple jump," said Wilson, who performed well enough to finish second in the district. "I used to think baseball was really boring but I think I'm gonna try it."
Might as well make that last semester as busy as possible. He plans to compete in baseball and track this spring, while holding down two jobs and finishing up as school president, a position that if it had not already been in place, surely would have been invented for Wilson.
He also maintains a 3.8 grade-point average as a member of the National Honor Society, and in what spare time he has, trains fellow students at his house. After a down junior season in football, he was back over the 1,500-yard mark as a senior running back, with Ridgewood posting its first nonlosing record (5-5) since 2007.
"Physically you do tire at the end of the day, but you wake up and it feels like a new body," Wilson said. "Mentally … it's pretty tough. You gotta have a certain mind-set. There's a lot to deal with, pressure from every corner: friends, teachers, work, AP classes. Sometimes I do need a break."
Right around what he called a "good" winter break — although he did get in 50 work hours in one week between Regal Cinemas and refereeing basketball at the Salvation Army — Wilson was able to take one major stress point off his slate. In mid December, he orally committed to play football at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.
It's not the big splash it appeared he would make after bursting onto the scene as a sophomore. Wilson had an offer from the University of South Florida after that season, but the relationship with his "dream school" deteriorated. Presbyterian was the only school that responded to multiple emails from his father, Glass IV.
"I sent them my film and they loved it. They came down to meet me and it was perfect. Kind of like God's plan," Wilson said.
Next week he will officially sign with the Blue Hose. In line with the school's Scottish heritage, it refers to the blue stockings the players wear.
"We went to a football game and to hear everyone chant 'Let's Go Hose' took a little getting used to. I was like, 'What are they saying?' " said his mother, Nicole Wilson. "I'm really proud of Glass, for several reasons. He has good grades, good character and he says hi to everyone, doesn't matter if you're the janitor or the principal. He genuinely cares how people are."
Wilson is a constant fixture at other Rams sporting events, and it looks like his college choice offers a similar vibe. Presbyterian, a church-related liberal arts school about 30 miles from bigger cities like Greenville, has an enrollment around 1,500. The football program plays at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level, and Wilson thinks he can jump right into the starting backfield.
"I hope to make an impact there kind of like I did at Ridgewood," he said.
It that plan works out from the start, look for the Blue Hose in their second game next season — at the University of Florida.
The commitment will be made official at Ridgewood's 2:15 p.m. national signing day ceremony on Feb. 3.
"Glass Wilson is the epitome of a student-athlete," principal Angie Murphy said. "His motivation in the classroom is also represented on the field. He was elected student council president by his peers. He is also very active in many scholastic groups, is a true schoolwide leader, and I am so proud to have him represent Ridgewood at the next level."
Wilson might have a tough time keeping the emotions in check at his signing day ceremony. He calls his parents the "greatest people to walk this earth" and, as a final high school sign of his love, will be taking his mother to the senior prom. His parents had Wilson when Nicole was a senior at Ridgewood, so she couldn't make the prom.
"My parents never ever had a doubt in what I could do," Wilson said. "They give me encouragement. And if they do give me discouragement, it's only in a great way, to make me do more."