Gators linebacker signee Derek Wingo’s whirlwind commitment to Florida is a well-known story (Related: The Inside Scoop – How Florida flipped Wingo) among Gators fans. But there’s much more to the 2020 Gatorade Florida Player of the Year than his ability to run up his team’s tackle total.
In this edition of Getting to Know, the second-highest-rated member of Florida’s 2020 signing class opens up on the recruiting process, how he plans to give back to Gainesville after he’s played his last down in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and includes a unique fact for Gator Nation.
What was the craziest, strangest or weirdest moment of the recruiting cycle?
“I’ve seen some crazy things like with coaches, but definitely the weirdest thing like for me was that I was visiting Florida but I was committed to Penn State. I actually flipped but I wasn’t gonna say anything, but one of my close family friends I told posted it on Twitter, so like everyone knew and I had to post it.”
If there is one thing you could change about the recruiting process, what would it be?
“I wish we could take more official visits. I would’ve taken one to Oregon like just to go out there, I would’ve gone to Clemson and just some of those schools, just get to sit down and see what schools have to offer and see the cities. I think some kids when they get offers, they just want to commit right away instead of taking the time to have fun with the process.”
If you could play a sport outside of football, which sport would it be?
“Probably basketball because if you’re good you get the highlights and stuff.”
What is your favorite football memory?
“Probably this year at STA-tes. [Wingo attends Saint Thomas Aquainas].”
What would you say are some of your greatest strengths as a football player? What do you need to work on?
“What I’m good at is leadership and being vocal and what I need to work on is probably getting bigger and faster.”
Who is the prospect that you have talked to the most from the Class of 2020?
“Definitely Xzavier Henderson and Ja’Quavion Fraziars. Also Gerald Mincey.”
If you could pick any jersey number, what would it be?
What is your major?
“Probably sports management and business. I want to open my sports bar in Gainesville called Wingo’s.”
If you a chance to go on a dream date, who would it be with?
“It has changed a million different times, but right now it would be Addison Rae from TikTok, but probably my dream date would be Sydney McLaughlin.”
What would be your first purchase if you got drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft?
“Definitely get my mom a new house.”
What is one item that you cannot live without it?
What is your favorite professional football team?
Who is your favorite professional player right now?
“Tom Brady is my favorite player because he’s the GOAT, but the player I liken myself to the most and try to model my game after is Von Miller.”
Who has been the biggest role model for you in your life?
“A person I look up to who I don’t know is Ray Lewis because he went through a lot of obstacles when he was younger, like he didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood, but he stayed focused, had good time management and was able to accomplish everything he wanted and take care of his family.”
What are your favorite types of music? Do you have a favorite artist or song?
What is your favorite movie?
“I’m a big Avengers fan.”
What is your favorite TV show?
“It would definitely have to be The Walking Dead or The 100.”
If you could spend the day with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
“Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] because he lives a good life like he does football and he also has a great life balance.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“Hopefully I’ll be able to open my business and be playing in the NFL and probably have a stable relationship.”
What are three things on your bucket list?
“I’ve never been to New York and I’ve always wanted to the Statue of Liberty, I want to travel the world, like I’ve been to Greece and Italy, but I want to see more places and I want to be able to have a sit-down conversation with Tom Brady.”
What is one thing about you that the Gator Nation would be surprised to find out about?
“I love to do interior design. My room is like beautiful. Everyone makes fun of me because I have pictures of myself all over the wall.”