BELLEVILLE — The day Belleville West senior Demechico Spraggins had been waiting for finally arrived Wednesday.
Spraggins is headed to the "Valley of the Sun" after signing his national letter of intent to attend Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
"It's a dream come true. I've been thinking about this day probably since my freshman year,'' Spraggins said. "It feels good to have the decision made.''
The 2013 Class 3A 138-pound state champion said the decision wasn't easy. Iowa State University showed a lot of interest and Lindenwood University St. Charles made a late and strong push to sign Spraggins.
But Sunday night, Spraggins made his decision to be a Sun Devil.
"When I went out for my visit, I just loved it. It's a long way from home -- 24 hours by car. But I wanted to get away, meet new people. I'm not one to get homesick,'' Spraggins said. "My family is all right with the decision. They just want me to be happy, get an education and graduate.
"They've got a great business school, which is ranked in the top 20 in the nation. The coaches are great and they've got a very young team. I'm excited about the future.''
Spraggins' high school career was impressive. In addition to winning the state title this season, Spraggins was second (103 pounds) as a freshman, second (119) as a sophomore and fourth (132) as a junior. Spraggins finished his Maroons' career with a record of 165-11.
Spraggins is joining a program that is a perennial contender in the Pac-12.
Led by coach Shawn Charles and assistants Lee Pritts and Brian Stith, the Sun Devils finished the 2012-13 season with a dual-meet record of 8-11-1 and placed third in the Pac-12 Tournament, behind Oregon State and Boise State.
The Sun Devils have won 16 tournament titles in their 34 years in the Pac-12. West coach Al Sears said he has spoken with Charles and thinks ASU is the right place for his four-time all-stater.
"I think Arizona State is a great fit for Mech,'' Sears said. "Mech has always said he wanted to get out of the Midwest. I think he's going to like it out there.
"Coach Charles and his staff do a great job and they know what they're doing. They know all about Mech. They know what makes him tick and obviously they know what kind of talent he possesses.''
Spraggins said he has been told the plan is for him to redshirt at 141 pounds next season. If he does redshirt, he will still be able to compete in open tournaments as an unattached wrestler.
Spraggins doesn't seem too keen on the idea.
"I'd rather go in and get right after it. Then, if I get hurt or something later on, I'd still have my redshirt year left,'' Spraggins said. "I know I've got to get better at riding my opponent. I've proven that I can ride people. I did that in the double-overtime match at sectionals. I just haven't done a lot of it.''
Spraggins said he will always remember high school as a great time in his life.
"It was nice. I've had a lot of friends and the teachers, administration and coaches have been great. The counselors were also great in helping me get the classes I needed for college,'' Spraggins said. "But I'm excited and ready for the next stage of my life. The next goal is to be a national champion. It's not the ultimate goal, but it's the next one.''