Wells came to Tech last summer from Lumpkin County High as a preferred walk-on, and a shaky start by Tech’s kickers gave Wells a shot in the fifth game of the season. He never gave former coach Paul Johnson a reason to make another change. He finished the season 9-for-9 on field-goal tries and 39-for-39 on extra points.
He showed his mettle against Virginia, nailing a 48-yard try in the final two minutes to put the Jackets ahead and then hitting from 40 yards in overtime for the game-winner. His consistency and nerve made him popular with Tech fans and a star in his hometown of Dahlonega.
“The moment’s not too big for him,” Johnson said after the win over Virginia.
Sherri Wills said that she had no indication that Collins was considering placing her son on scholarship. The news evidently came as a surprise to Wesley, who after the meeting was to take his last final exam later that morning – he was hoping to ace it to secure a semester of straight A’s.
“I said, ‘Have you lost your focus (for the exam)?’” Sherri Wells said. “He said, ‘Yes, I have, but I think it’s going to be OK.’”
That Collins placed Wells on scholarship is a strong indicator of the trust and value that he places in him. Having inherited Wells on the roster, Collins could have waited for him to repeat his performance this coming season before granting him a scholarship. The fact that Tech was two scholarships above the 85-player limit going into the 2019-20 academic year even before putting Wells on scholarship (to go up to 88, although Thursday’s departure of wide receiver Jaylen Jackson returns the number to 87) would have served as additional rationale for waiting. Collins chose otherwise.
It’s also an indication of Collins’ confidence that, through players leaving the team, Tech will be able to make the limit.
Collins now has two kickers on scholarship, Brenton King and Wells. During spring practice in April, King said that he tried to play last season with a torn groin muscle, an injury that obviously affected his performance. The two anticipated competition for the coming season. Wells said he hoped to earn the jobs for placekicking and kickoffs, the latter of which was held by Shaun Davis, who is graduating this week.
The semester is ending, Wells is headed this weekend to Puerto Rico with other Tech athletes to assist with hurricane rehabilitation and now he’s on scholarship. Not a bad sequence.
Said his mother, “He’s very happy.”