“He told me I was getting the first carry and I told him I didn’t have to hear the second play because I was taking it to the grid” — David Wilson to RB’s Coach Shane Beamer
Wilson ran 20 yards almost untouched for a touchdown on Virginia Tech’s first offensive play, giving the No. 13 Hokies a quick lead on their way to a 66-13 victory against Appalachian State. The touchdown was the first of three in the first half for the junior, his first game as the Hokies’ starting tailback, and he finished with 162 yards on just 16 carries- that’s an average of 10.1 yards per carry for those keeping score at home. Oh and by the way, the latter half of Wilson’s statement above was “…but I was only kidding.”
What distinguishes David Wilson isn’t flashy play or having a household name (yet). Rather, its his patience hitting the hole, having legs the size of tree trunks, and tremendous discipline. He has a goal sheet that hangs in front of his locker that reminds him of what he needs to do to be in the conversation amongst the best tailbacks in college football. If he accomplishes those goals, he would surpass his predecessor, running back Ryan Williams who is now in the NFL. Williams’ 2009 campaign broke all kinds of Virginia Tech and ACC rushing records (1,655 yards/21 TDs) and Wilson is determined to do the same.
Ryan Williams on Wilson: “Wilson is gonna have a breakout season. A lot of guys got to see David last year, so they know what he’s capable of doing. I’m really expecting him to break my records.”
Perhaps the brightest highlight of Wilson’s goal sheet is “no fumbles-with a star beside it,” said Wilson. That’s a few lines below averaging 100 rushing yards and a score every game this season. Furthermore, he hopes to rush for 260+ yards in one game and earn first-team all-ACC and all-American honors. If Wilson has his way, he’ll end 2011 with more than 1700 yards and 20 TDs. Said Wilson of his performance last night, “that’s the way to start the season off.”
Running a 4.29 40-yard-dash, David Wilson is one of the fastest players in college football. He has always been able to use his game-breaking speed in the return game, as he returned two kicks for touchdowns last season, he was a solid option at running back last year for the Hokies, as he carried the ball 100 times for 600 yards and four touchdowns. But now with the departure of Ryan Williams, Wilson really has the opportunity to have a breakout season and he knows it.
“I feel more explosive on the field. When I go out there I just like the ball being in my arms. And when it’s not in my arms, I look for another way to make a play. A big block, anything.”
Now, I know the Hokies played Appalachian State yesterday, crushing them 66-13, but if you had a chance to see Wilson’s ability, I can promise you that his name will find a place in your memory bank the next time you think of “Heisman candidate.” He belongs in the conversation and at the very least, he deserves recognition as a top 5 RB in college football, up there with the likes of Lattimore, Richardson, and James. A break on the edge, and Wilson is gone. I watch Wilson run, and I see something that makes me believe he’s going to be really good.