“The NFL stands for Not For Long. It’s not going anywhere!”
Of course at this stage of his college career, the lead story is going to be whether Wilson goes on to professional football in 2016. Draft forecasts vary yet most figure the true junior has done enough at Mississippi State already to earn a solid selection.
Wilson collected 55 passes this season for 822 yards, both career highs. He also matched his 2014 total for touchdowns at nine in the regular schedule and obviously has a bowl game left to improve his statistics. In three seasons his 128 receptions and 1,853 yards rank fifth and sixth respectively in school history.
The 21 touchdowns? That’s second only to Chad Bumphis’ 24 which were garnered in four full seasons. So Wilson has more than secured his stature in Bulldog receiving records already. Oh, and his 18 touchdowns on Dak Prescott passes make them the most productive scoring combination every in Bulldog uniforms.
Put another way, there doesn’t seem a lot left for Wilson to prove at this level of the game. He just won’t come out and say if he intends to come back for a senior year or head on for a NFL paycheck. In fact, “I didn’t even put in (for) a draft grade,” Wilson said.
It’s true. Wilson is not one of the Bulldogs submitting requests from experts for a draft round projection. He doesn’t have to, the only deadline that matters is January 15 for early NFL entry. Wilson isn’t ignoring professional input, though. He gets entirely-legal comments from multiple sources, and has the help of Mississippi State who know the right sorts of scouts able to offer honest analyses.
“I had them kind of ask questions, what I need to get better at and what they think about me coming out.”
Even if Wilson hasn’t requested a formal review, it’s just about consensus in Bulldog Country he will be changing addresses come summer. For right now? He’s completely convincing in stressing getting ready for North Carolina State.
“So I’m just focusing on the game right now, taking one day at a time. I just really want to win in Charlotte. Get that Belk Bowl trophy, it looks like some type of ice. I always wanted a trophy like that!”
It means bowl camp play time is over, as Wednesday Wilson and a handful of other un-stressed starters got back to real work in real Belk Bowl preparation. “I got a lot of reps today. Team vs. scouts, two periods of that. Just moving around, getting a feel of the offense.”
It’s fair to say Coach Dan Mullen at least partially revamped the Mississippi State offense the last couple of campaigns to use the full talents of Prescott, Wilson, Fred Ross, and more big-play passing game players. The Belk Bowl is a last chance for them all to show their stuff on a big stage. And while he doesn’t like talking pro ball too much today, Wilson admits NFL receivers have been a major influence all along.
He’s currently a Calvin Johnson fan, as a big receiver type. “One other guy is Keyshawn Johnson, growing up I watched him a ton. I wasn’t studying him then! I had a dream then playing in the NFL growing up, so having an idea of bigger guys playing in the NFL.”
It’s why Wilson made the move away from basketball at last and committed entirely to football. The record-results affirm his decision. Now another decision looms, and when Wilson talks about doing the best for his daughter and son he sounds like a man who’s made that choice already.
But, he will miss this. “I was blessed to be a college student, a college athlete. And I want to cherish each and every time.”