Wilson proved he could play cornerback

There was one word that made Quincy Wilson’s blood boil during the recruiting process.


He heard that word more than he ever expected to as a high school player trying to find the best college for him. At 6-1, 200 pounds, multiple programs had questions about whether or not Wilson would be able to stick at cornerback in college. They envisioned bulking him up and using him at safety.

Wilson always had his eyes on cornerback. It’s where he wanted to play and wouldn’t listen if a school suggested otherwise. Former Florida coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson saw his athleticism and offered him as a cornerback. Their experience with taller cornerbacks, which were always the target at Florida with them running the secondary, made it an easy transition to the college level.

“Everybody coming in thought I was going to play safety, but I played cornerback,” Quincy Wilson said. “I didn’t have any doubt. I know what I can do on the field.”

There are still challenges that come with playing cornerback at 6-1 that some of the traditional 5-10 cornerbacks don’t have to deal with. The height can be an asset in coverage while trying to deflect a pass, but it can also be a problem.

“The main one is pad height,” Wilson said. “If you’re playing too high, that’s easy to fix. You’ve just got to be conscious of it. If you’re getting beat, you’re probably playing too high. That’s another main thing I worked on -- pad height.”

Wilson didn’t know how much he’d be playing as a true freshmen. He knew about Florida’s depth in the secondary going into the 2014 season but wanted to earn a role on the field. After the Gators moved Brian Poole into the nickel before the fifth game of the year, it opened up the second cornerback spot for Wilson and Jalen Tabor to battle for.

What started as a friendship between the two freshmen turned into a healthy rivalry that made both players want to do better than the other. When Tabor would make a play in practice, Wilson had to force his way onto the field to make another. When Wilson came down with an interception, Tabor started to feel like it was his turn to get one.

The battle between the two on the field saw them split starts during the second half of the season but both showed they were ready to make an impact.

“We get excited when we’re both on the field,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t say it’s competition, we’re just getting each other better. We went back and forth with starting last year. It really made us go hard in practice and elevate our game.

“He pushes me because if he makes a play, I know I’ve got to make a play. I felt like me and him being here really helped both of us get better.”

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