"The shoulder feels good. I don't feel any pain but I'm just letting it go easy this spring and I'll be ready in three months and without a doubt be at 100% in the fall," said Hooks after another day of spring drills.
"I hope to be a better receiver the next season than the previous not just statistically, but by my play. I want to lead by example to the younger receivers as well and hopefully not only will I improve, but the entire receiving group as a whole will as well."
Hooks has the attitude that coaches, players, and parents love. As one of only two seniors (Paul Arnold being the other) in this otherwise still young receivers group, Hooks has come a long was since he was a part of Jim Lambright's last recruiting class of 1998. As a matter of fact, he is the only receiver remaining from that class which included the since retired Chris Juergens and the graduating Todd Elstrom.
Taking a moment to reflect back on his favorite memories, Hooks can point to no other moment than the memorable Rose Bowl season that saw the then-sophomore Hooks mature and emerge into a threat as a receiver and show off his 4.4 speed as well his abilities as a game breaker. Nobody can forget the thrilling come-from-behind victory in the hostile environment of Boulder, CO as he made a diving touchdown that was the game winner.
Hooks went up the middle on a vertical route and Marques Tuiasosopo hit him with a missile that Wilbur went high in traffic to corral before slamming down into the endzone for the score. After the play, he pointed up into the stands, as his Grandmother made the trip to Colorado to see him play.
Hooks has never been comfortable talking about his own play, which is very much in line with his personality. He is magnetic and outgoing, but never one to focus on himself. He is the quintessential team player that won't put his personal accomplishments over the team. When asked to elaborate on any personal football favorite moments, he defers again to his team's accomplishments. He defines the team's Rose Bowl season as the turning point in his career.
"That year our team went through a lot of growing up and came together with Curtis Williams's going down and as well as all those comeback victories. With our victory in Pasadena to cap it all off, I don't think I could have had a better time or have it any other way," said Hooks.
The upcoming season will be the last season he will strap on the gold helmet and dawn the Washington colors. It has been an up and down roller coaster of a career, filled with frustration from injuries but also the excitement of success. Hooks hopes to finally have a full healthy season where he will be able to not just show flashes of stardom, but a full season where he will show the Pac-10 as well as the nation just why he is such a highly regarded prospect.
"Its been fun," said Hooks of his career thus far. "I was fortunate to be a part of a winning program where we consistently finished at or near the top of our conference. It will be an exciting season that I am looking forward to and hopefully we will once again finish on top and be playing in the Rose Bowl again."
It's hard to believe that it's been over four summers since Wilbur Hooks was a high school senior in Washington's summer Purple and Gold camp, when Dick Baird saw him and never let up until Hooks said "yes".
"That is one of the most outstanding young men you will ever meet," said Baird, the former UW recruiting coordinator. "He has that personality that will make him a leader throughout his life."
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