“On special teams I can be put into any situation there,” Wilson told Seahawks.NET’s Doug Farrar shortly after he was drafted. “I returned kicks throughout my career at Maryland, and I did whatever the team needed. That’s what I plan to bring to the Seattle Seahawks - whatever my team needs to be successful and win and to go to that next level.”
Wilson averaged 27.3 yards per return as a senior in 2006 and had a 100-yard return for a touchdown vs. Georgia Tech.
At defensive back, Wilson started the last 24 games of his college career and finished with 28 starts in 41 games. He was excellent in 2005 as a true junior, posting 73 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, eight passes defensed and one interception.
Wilson relishes competition and never backs down from anyone. His speed allows him to stick with the fastest receivers, and his 37-inch vertical and excellent strength helps him match up against the bigger receivers that are en vogue in the NFL nowadays.
“Calvin Johnson and I had head to head matchups,” Wilson said when asked about matching up with the outstanding Georgia Tech wideout. “We weren’t able to go against each other the whole game because the scheme that we had for them and we didn’t want to break the integrity of our defense, but he had only two catches for 19 yards and I almost had two interceptions. I had a very good day.
“People like to say that one of my minuses is my height, but going against somebody who’s 6-5 and was the number two pick in the draft just shows I can play with the best receivers.”
As far as fitting into Seattle’s Cover Two scheme, Wilson feels it will be a smooth transition for him.
“At Maryland, we played Cover Two, man and Cover Four, we mixed it up a lot,” Wilson said. “That’s one thing that I was able to do because I’ve played so many different position and in so many different schemes that I was versatile enough to be able to step into any system and be able to pick it up and play it.”
In his first two years as a Terrapin, Wilson spent a lot of time with former Terp Dominique Foxworth, now with the Denver Broncos, and gives a lot of credit for his success to his college mentor.
“Dominique was there for two years and I probably asked him as many questions as you possibly could ask anybody about playing football and he was always open to helping me out,” Wilson said. “To this day, I’ll call him ask ‘What about this, how do you do this’ and he’ll tell me.
“He’s been a very influential person in my career. I appreciate everything he’s done for me and helping me be the corner I am today.”
Another big influence in Wilson’s football life is his father Tim, who died of a heart attack in 1996.
“The first year I played football I wanted to play running back so bad but the coach wouldn’t give me a chance,” Wilson remembered. “So (his father) said you only get one opportunity so when you get that one opportunity you have to take it. So I had that one opportunity and scored five straight touchdowns. From then on I was starting tailback and defense.
“You can ask anyone who watches me, I always go hard in practice, I’m just as much a competitor in practice as I am in a game, because you never know what play is going to be your final play, what play is going to make that team want you.”
The elder Wilson was also the lead-blocker for Earl Campbell in Houston.
“He’s all excited,” Wilson said of Campbell. “He said, ‘I’ve been reading your articles’ and I’m like, ‘You’re in the Hall of Fame and you have a Heisman Trophy, why are you excited about reading some articles about some kid from Maryland?’ He said, ‘I’ve known you for so long … I never though that I’d have this chance to see you grow up and be the player that you are.’
“So it makes me proud for a guy of his status saying something like that to me.”
A lot of rookies go to teams in need of upgrades and that could struggle early on in their careers. Wilson doesn’t see himself in that situation however.
“Just being able to work with this staff and this team, I’m going into a very, very good situation,” Wilson said. “It’s a team that’s competing for a Super Bowl every year and just being able to contribute to that would be my wish.”
At 5-9, 190, Wilson is the definition of a cover corner. He runs well and seems to have good instincts when reading a passing route.
Wilson’s speed is what really sets him apart though. His top-end speed allows him to make up ground while the ball is in the air and he has good ball-skills when he gets there.
Sometimes Wilson allows too much of a cushion on a receiver and he can be shielded by the bigger receivers, but overall, Seattle got a dynamic playmaker who will add excellent depth to their secondary.
It will probably take him a year to really challenge for playing time, but with Marcus Trufant possibly being a free agent following the 2007 season and the need for another return man to go with Nate Burleson, Wilson fills several needs on Seattle’s roster.