High school has ended and it’s full steam ahead to the University of Florida for Lakeland High School wide receiver Paul Wilson. He is one of six future Gators from the three-time state/two-time national champs, four of whom will be enrolling at Florida in less than two weeks to get a head start on the other freshmen in the class of 2007 by participating in spring practice.
Wilson is all set to make the leap to college life. Christmas answered the campus transportation questions when he found a brand new scooter under his tree. He is set to room with Lakeland teammate Ahmad Black, who is also one of his closest friends. Wilson and Black did their part to help Lakeland win 45 consecutive games so they understand the work ethic it takes to win championships. Teammates Michael Pouncey and Maurkice Pouncey will also enroll early at Florida and in the summer, the Gators will welcome Chris Rainey and Steven Wilks to campus.
Wilson (6-1, 175) has heard about Florida’s tough pre-spring practice mat drills and team workouts, so he’s ready to get started.
“I am expecting a lot of tough work outs … from what I hear they are pretty serious,” he said. “I think we start lifting right away, but I think they will give the older guys a few days off after they get back from Arizona.”
He may be one of the less publicized prospects in the 2007 class, but don’t let the lack of notoriety fool you. Lakeland rarely threw the football this past season so Wilson only caught 15 passes, but he averaged 22 yards per catch. During his sophomore and junior years, he caught a combined 78 passes and averaged more than 15 yards per reception.
Wilson is confident in his ability and it is that confidence that won the Gator coaching staff over at camp this past summer. With South Carolina and Notre Dame really going after him hard, the Gator staff offered Wilson a scholarship after he displayed good speed, agility, and great technique at camp. Wilson will bring all of that and his confidence to campus in two weeks.
“I have set goals,” Wilson said. “I want to play as a freshman. I want to start as a freshman. I think I am a good route runner. When you throw the ball in my direction I am going to catch the ball wherever it is. We didn’t throw the ball a lot in my senior year so I really worked on my blocking, so I am a pretty good downfield blocker. I am not the biggest guy, but I get it done.”
He is excited to get started. He knows that college life will be a huge stepping stone for a midterm freshman but he’s eager to see what it’s all about.
“I am looking forward to classes and not having eight periods a day,” he said. “I will probably do something with business. My dad is a mortgage broker. I am looking forward to the free food and the guys. I just want to branch out and spread my wings a little bit.”
In Paul Wilson, Gator fans and Urban Meyer may have found a hidden gem of a recruit. He’s a guy that may not get all the publicity but whatever he’s asked to do, he’ll do it and do it well. Wilson is also one of those gems of a person. You don’t have to worry that he’ll be involved in off the field shenanigans. When asked what Gator fans will have to look forward to when Paul Wilson shows up on campus, he said, “I won’t be going out and partying. I will be focused on my books and play hard. Hopefully I will play early and they will get to know me early.”
Ask the 600 kids at the Army combine in San Antonio last January about Paul Wilson. He finished second in the forty yard dash among all entries which included many of America’s fastest sprinters. Expect Paul Wilson to provide plenty of surprises before it’s all said and done.