FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – For the first time this season we’ve got a defensive star making an appearance as a CBS4 Nat Moore Trophy nominee.

CBS4’s Mike Cugno caught up with Derek Wingo from St. Thomas Aquinas ahead of their big matchup against Carol City.

If you’re looking for an outside linebacker with size and speed, look no further than St. Thomas Aquinas.

The football powerhouse may have another star on their hands in Wingo, who has the attention of D1 schools from coast to coast.

He also has a pretty good coach on the defensive side of the ball. According to Wingo, Hall of Famer Jason Taylor has been a guide on and off the field.

“He’s basically been through it all. He didn’t go through the biggest college. He didn’t go to the biggest high school,” Wingo explained. “But for him to be able to tell us the process of getting through and just how he worked through it on a day to day basis to get to the NFL and have a great career and be able to be in the Hall of Fame. To know someone like that to go through the whole thing is great.”

St. Thomas Aquinas LB Derek Wingo (CBS4)

Even though Cugno dragged him away from a walk through at practice for this interview, it’s clear his focus is squarely on football.

“I was digging around social media and everything you post is all about football, so obviously you live and breathe this sport. What is it about this game and the position you play in linebacker?” Cugno asked him.

“It’s what I’ve grown up doing. It’s kind of my life, it’s kind of my way out. Definitely, I’d say, if I were to post other things other than that, you’d kind of think that I was off task and that I’m not really focusing,” Wingo said. “I want to let everyone know that football is what I’m doing, it’s what I want to do in the future and that’s what I’m striving for.”

At the moment, Wingo is committed to play in the SEC for the Florida Gators. For Wingo, there’s no better way to prepare for life at major program than attending St. Thomas to play for the Raiders, where there’s more than a dozen seniors on the roster who will likely play at the next level.

“That’s the reason I wanted to come to this school, to be able to be around other great players. To kind of boost the way I’m able to play my game,” Wingo said. “Playing with some of these guys on this team, honestly, I never thought I’d have that opportunity.”

Click here to nominate your favorite South Florida high school football player for the CBS4 inaugural Nat Moore Trophy.

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