Maryland Corners Exude Confidence

A gloss-coated Superman baseball cap atop his head and a pair of black shades sitting on his face, Josh Wilson was a media magnet this afternoon at Maryland football media day. It didn't take long to determine that Wilson, Maryland's brash senior cornerback, can talk a good game as well.

“I love being the guy, you know? I want to be that guy that everybody looks at. Because when you’re looked at as a leader, that means you’re doing something right,” said Wilson, who headlines a group of defensive backs that is sure to produce both plays and sound bytes of the highlight-reel variety.

You may recall that Josh Wilson, as a freshman, drew the ire of N.C. State fans when he danced in their endzone after a dramatic Terps win in Raleigh. Well, nothing has changed with the 5-9, 187-pound All-ACC candidate from Upper Marlboro.

“Nobody busts my chops. They know what type of guy I am. They know I’m a very confident – not cocky – I’m a very confident person. It’s a fine line,” he says.

“And as a corner, you’ve got to be very confident in your abilities because you’re going to be sitting out there by yourself. And if you’re not confident, there’s going to be a lot of music playing by the band.”

But Wilson is hardly the only character in the defensive backfield. For proof, check out the shiny metallic grill adorning sophomore Isaiah Gardner, who also wears Nike sports contacts with red circles outlining his pupils and a chunky earing in his left ear.

“I got these last weekend, ‘cause I lost my other ones,” he said of his garish mouth-ware.

“The ladies like it regardless, but I’ve got a girlfriend anyways, so she doesn’t like that too much, but it’s all good,” he said, chuckling.

Gardner, a Notre Dame transfer in 2004 and former SuperPrep all-American, will likely be competing with sophomore Kevin Barnes for the chance to start opposite Wilson. They will have strong backup support in junior free safety Christian Varner, a returning starter who’s no shrinking violet, either.

“I play aggressive, and if you’re hurt, you’re hurt, I’ll deal with you later on. But it’s personal out there on the field – It’s a battle. We’re not friends out there on the field, we can be friends afterward,” he said.

“I don’t hold back. I am who I am, and if I offend you, I offend you, but that’s my personality. That’s what I come from,” Varner continued. “That’s how I gotta be. Competition is good. It makes better players. If you don’t have competition, you stay the same, and if you stay the same, you’re not getting better.”

Wilson, meantime, appears to be staking his claim as leader of the defense, and perhaps the entire team.

“If it takes me having to play out of my talent level and be something bigger that I didn’t even know I was, then that’s what I want to be. I didn’t know that I was going to be that guy when I came here, but now that I am, I gotta step up and take the challenge,’ he said.

“I love challenges and hopefully I can lead this team to a lot of success. If it’s not leading up to success, then I guess you need to find another guy.”

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