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January 7, 2010

Season recap: Jeremiah Wilson

Expectations were understandably high for Jeremiah Wilson in his senior season.

Fresh off a junior campaign in which he rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns and recorded 80 tackles and five interceptions, Wilson was hoping to save his best for last.

A strained ligament in his leg prevented that from happening, as the Maryland commitment missed six games of Handley (Va.) High’s 12-1 season. Wilson’s return to the field, however, reminded everyone just how much potential the 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback possessed.

“He got healthy and he had 120 yards [rushing] in our first playoff game,” said Handley coach Tony Rayburn. “He ran well and he played both ways. He played real big at cornerback. Teams we played liked to run the ball out in the flats and he did a real great job of making a lot of plays, whether it was a quick screen outside or a sweep.”

Wilson finished the season with 20 tackles and one interception, while rushing for 926 yards and 12 touchdowns on 95 carries. The Judges advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia Division III playoffs. Handley had success with Wilson on the injured list, but became a “much better offense” when he returned.

“He was all-region both ways last year,” Rayburn said. “And he was all-region again this year, only playing seven games. He averaged 9.7 yards per carry. That’s pretty good. He made a couple huge runs that helped us win games. I think his explosive ability was even better than the year before.”

Wilson, a four-year starter at cornerback and running back for the Judges, first appeared on Rayburn’s radar before his high school career officially began. Rayburn recalled a middle-school student who showed promising signs of leadership on the field and in the weight room.

“He came into the weight room as an 8th-grader and lifted and ever since he’s been consistent in his attendance and work ethic in the weight room,” Rayburn said. “He’s obviously gotten stronger and faster and all those things. We knew he had some ability as a freshman -- he had a big interception in one of our games late in the season to put us in the playoffs. And then we ran a lot of one-back and at 170 pounds, he was the lead blocker a lot of times. He blocked and was real unselfish. As a junior he finally got his opportunity and we knew he had potential. When he finally got that, he took full advantage of it.”

Wilson’s junior season went a long way toward convincing the Maryland coaching staff that he merited a scholarship offer. Wilson, who grew up in Woodlawn, became the Terps’ second commitment of the 2010 class nearly 11 months ago. When Wilson arrives in College Park this summer, Rayburn thinks there’s a possibility he makes an early contribution.

“It sounds like he’s going to have a chance,” Rayburn said. “They’re losing a couple guys this year. I think a lot of times, cornerbacks are smaller than he is at 6-foot, 190 pounds. He’s a strong kid and a physical player. I don’t know what they have and those things, but I know he’s very capable of going in and helping out right away.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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