Up Close: E.J. Wilson, Part II

LAWRENCEVILLE, Va. – Since he was seven, 2005 UNC football commitment E.J. Wilson has been hit by a car, hit in the head inadvertently by a baseball bat swung by his cousin and he was in a go-cart accident which resulted in reconstructive surgery on two of his fingers. But believe it or not, he says playing football without a coach he respected has been his toughest obstacle to overcome.

(Click here for Part I, which ran on Friday.)

"For the last couple of years, it seemed like the coach here really didn't know what he was doing," E.J. Wilson said. "On the field, most of the time, I was running the offense. He didn't know what plays to call, so I had to call the plays."

As a result, Wilson has rarely tasted victory on the gridiron, although he's accomplished about everything he can in his prep basketball and track careers.

But it's football he wants to play, and this year he has a coach with the experience to help him prepare for college football.

Even while his new coach, Harold Williams, was an assistant an hour away at Central Sussex, he lived in the Lawrenceville area and followed Wilson's budding career beginning at J.S. Russell Middle School.

Expecting to return to his natural position of quarterback when his senior season began, Wilson quickly learned he was going to have to make an adjustment.

Wilson accepted the move from quarterback and shifted some of his time to receiver, as well as tailback. It wasn't a brand new position to him, as he had played receiver at the end of last season and caught a couple of touchdown passes.

It's a move Williams thinks will prepare Wilson well for what the Tar Heels have in store for him.

"I think they're looking at him as an H-Back, which will put his skill to use, because he can catch the football," Williams said. "This year, he has 14 catches and five touchdowns, and he's triple-teamed about every week.

"He wanted to try new things. He had had some success at the position already."

Williams had little time to revamp the Bulldogs' program, as his hire was not effective until June 1. At that time, Williams had an agreement with Wilson – he was the quarterback until somebody else came along and proved they could man the position.

Now they have a ninth-grader calling the signals and showing great promise, which enables Wilson to spread his wings even more.

"The young man is only 14," Williams said of his current quarterback, "but with his field generalship and his athletic ability, he's going to be something special."

At 1-6, Williams knows he is building for the future. Wilson is one of only four seniors on the roster, which also consists of just two juniors. And not only does he have to infuse his philosophy into his football personnel, but most of the Brunswick fans are consumed with the Bulldogs' basketball program – 2003 state champs.

"Basketball is king, here," Williams said. "They're in the running for the state title every year here, and E.J. has been a part of that."

But while the football program is still a work in progress, Wilson feels with the coaching change he is getting better prepared for college than he has been able to in the past.

And that's good news to Tar Heel fans. Since Wilson has such upside, the sooner he can realize it, the sooner he'll be on the field at Kenan Stadium.

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