North graduate Taiwan Wiggins, enjoyed a very fruitful senior year on the athletic field, earning all-league in football, basketball and track.
August 01, 2013Grosse Pointe North 2013 graduate Taiwan Wiggins enjoyed a highly successful senior year that he hopes to better while being a student-athlete at Eastern Michigan University.
The 17-year-old Grosse Pointe Woods resident is going to play football for EMU as a preferred walk-on for head coach Ron English.
"My list of schools was down to Western and Eastern, and it was Eastern's coaches who offered me a walk-on spot, so I took it," Wiggins said. "I'm going to try my hardest to earn playing time at defensive back and get on that field.
"I'm nervous, but it's up to make the most out of this opportunity Eastern gave me."
It was Eastern special teams coordinator, Ryan Oshnock, who spoke to Wiggins about playing his collegiate football for the Eagles.
His trust in Wiggins' abilities solid the North grad on making the investment in himself to earn a degree and play at the next level.
As a senior, Wiggins earned All-League honors after intercepting four passes, breaking up 10 pass attempts and forcing two fumbles as a defensive back.
At wide receiver, he caught 15 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns, plus had 211 kick return yards and 145 punt return yards as the Norsemen's busiest player.
"I never came off the field and I loved every minute of it playing for coach (Frank) Sumbera," Wiggins said. "We had a goal of making the playoffs and we came one win away.
"Overall, I had a great time playing football at Grosse Pointe North."
When Wiggins reports to EMU's football camp Aug. 11 in preparation for the Eagles' season opener at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, against Howard at home.
After Howard, Eastern travels to Penn State and Rutgers (a soon to be Big Ten team in 2014), before beginning MAC play with a home game Sept. 21 against Ball State.
The Eagles have a bye week the final weekend of September before playing at Buffalo Oct. 5 and Army the week after.
They host Ohio University Oct. 19 and play consecutive road games against Northern Illinois and Toledo.
The Eagles host Western Michigan and Bowling Green Nov. 9 and Nov. 23, before wrapping up the 2014 regular season Friday, Nov. 29, at Central Michigan.
Wiggins played three years of football at North and all four years of basketball.
He also ran track three years.
He was a key cog to head coach Matt Lockhart during this winter on the court and earned All-League recognition. He played guard on the Norsemen.
"I liked playing basketball for coach Lockhart," Wiggins said. "We had a pretty young team, so they should be pretty good next year. I hope they win a lot of games."
Wiggins was outstanding on the track for head coach Frank Tymrak. During his three years on the team, Wiggins played a big part in the Norsemen winning back-to-back regional championships.
He was a two-time captain for the Norsemen while earning All-State honors in multiple events.
"Taiwan Wiggins was one of the most talented and versatile track performers in North's history," Tymrak said. "On any given day, he could run with the best in five different running events and be an integral part of three different relays.
"What is remarkable is that Taiwan embraced the challenge and was a true competitor whenever he stepped on the track. Taiwan is soft-spoken, cool, calm and loves to compete. We are going to miss him."
"I like playing football, but I love track," Wiggins said. "I hope I can do both at Eastern. Time will tell."
This spring, Wiggins helped the Norsemen win the Macomb Area Conference Red Division and earned a MAC Red Sportsmanship Award. He was also voted by coaches as the MAC Red Division Most Valuable Boys Track Athlete.
Wiggins set a school record in the 300-yard intermediate hurdles, taking seventh (All-State) with a time of 38.8, and added another All-State seventh-place finish in the 400-yard relay as he teamed with Tod Long, Kyle Moton and Will Woods to run a 42.9 at the Division 1 state finals.
During the summer, Wiggins is working out to build on his 6-feet, 180-pound frame. He said he hopes to grow another couple of inches and 10 to 15 pounds of muscle.
"I can't wait to get into Eastern's weight room," Wiggins said. "I continue to life weights and run at North."
He bench-presses 220 pounds, power cleans 185, squats 280 and dead lifts 185. He also does 100 push-ups after he wakes up and before he goes to bed.
Wiggins is in tip-top shape, but his workouts will intensity once he gets to campus.
He follows in his parents' footsteps. His father, Eugene, played basketball at Ferris State University, while his mother, Tangia, played basketball and softball in high school.
In his first semester of college, Wiggins is taking American history, post 1877, criminal justice, algebra and English.
His major is criminal justice.
"I know it's going to take some time to adjust to college, but my four years at Grosse Pointe North prepared me for this," Wiggins said. "It's nice to go to school close to home and my parents can watch the home games since Eastern is so close to home."