Safety Wilson looks, acts like a player

Kentucky Sports Report's Larry Vaught was impressed with the play of redshirt freshman Greg Wilson during the recently completed spring practice sessions. Vaught recently caught up with Wilson and spoke to the youngster, who credits Marcus McClinton for a lot of his development during his redshirt season in 2007.

One player who impressed me during spring practice was redshirt freshman strong safety Greg Wilson of College Park, Ga.

I knew he was supposed to be a good player, but little was said about him last year even though he was a versatile high school athlete who played quarterback, receiver, defensive back, punt returner, kickoff returner and long snapper.

This spring, though, he made some big-time hits as Ashton Cobb's backup and seems more than capable of helping the Wildcats.

"I feel like I came a long way. Last year I redshirted and me and the coach (David Lockwood) didn't get along too well. I didn't feel like I got too much of a chance. (New secondary) Coach (Chris) Thurmond is a real nice guy. I feel like I am comfortable around him and can play my game," Wilson, who has a 42-inch vertical jump, said. "I don't think coach Lockwood paid attention to me or the defensive backs that signed in 2007 at all. But that's all in the past now."

It's not all that surprising he thought of leaving last year.

"Yes, there were times I was ready to leave. It came across my mind. I am glad I stayed now," he said.

If there was one person who played a key role in Wilson still being at Kentucky it would be senior safety Marcus McClinton.

"Marcus helped me a lot. I kind of like model my game after him. The coaches say we are tall and have the same size. He helps me a lot. He is like my big brother. We go places together. He kind of likes taking me under his wing," Wilson said. "He was my coach last year. He saw the potential in me and helped me a lot. He had me at his house and would have me spend the night.

"He knew how on the scout team last year that I would back pedal high. He is the reason I stay low now. He taught me a lot and helped convince me Kentucky truly was the right place for me."

Based on the way he hit this spring, he's going to make others notice his play soon, too.

"I tried to get around the ball this spring. I just like to come up and hit people. I just have a nose for the ball and like to hit," Wilson said. "I can cover, too, but I like to hit. I would rather make a tackle than cover. That is why they make jokes about making me a linebacker.

"But I think this could be a good year for me. It is just me and Ashton at strong safety. We should be able to split some time and I'm anxious to show everybody what I can do."

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