[Note: Bumped from FanPosts. I realize I can by really cynical sometimes, so it's fair to give the other side the opportunity to present its case. So here's ScottBeardVT's take on David Wilson's potential.]
It looks like it’s time for David Wilson to “establish himself."
According to an article by rivals.com, Logan Thomas will be stuck piloting an offense with, “no established tailbacks behind him." Almost immediately upon reading that I could hear the collective response of Hokie faithful as they began shouting in frustration, “what about David Wilson?!”
We all believe David Wilson will be great when he back flips into the starting role next season. Wilson showed flashes of brilliance in limited action last year, with a struggling offensive line no less. What must one do to establish themselves as a running back in Rivals' eyes though, and why do I think that they're dead wrong?Never mind that Rivals actually listed him as the number four running back in the 2009 class. With a 2010 campaign that featured 5.5 ypc and an impressive 11 total touchdowns, David Wilson is statistically one of the most established backs in the conference this season. As far as I’m concerned, touchdowns speak more than yardage any day, and only Clemson’s Andre Ellington, with 12 total touchdowns last year, also finished the season with double digit touchdowns among returning backs projected to start. Montel Harris, a preseason All-ACC first team pick, finished third with nine total touchdowns last season along with UNC’s Ryan Houston, who sat last season out, but scored nine during his 2009 campaign.
Granted, Wilson accumulated six of those touchdowns from receiving and kick returns, but this is a testament to how versatile this guy truly is. He scores at will and I’d say that a well-rounded back that scores in multiple ways is more of a threat than an "established tailback" that does all of his damage on the ground.
This is especially true with a quarterback like Thomas, whose ability to make the long throw is no secret. Wilson’s raw speed and ability to get open down field will only create more options for Thomas, and establish an additional threat for the opposition's secondary. I think Thomas is perfectly fine with the tailback he has. David Wilson’s speed, ability to score from anywhere on the field, and capabilities as a multi-use back oftentimes remind me of Reggie Bush, who established his presence with a Heisman Trophy.
Now I’m not saying David Wilson should be a Heisman candidate, or that he’s as good as Reggie Bush was. I like to avoid making such overly zealous claims. I do, however think that we can expect great things from David Wilson and when the season comes to an end we can expect to see him on some all-conference teams and award watch lists. For most Hokie fans, David Wilson’s potential isn’t in question. What I want to ask, however, is how good, or great, can he possibly be this season?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I fully expect Wilson to break the 1000-yard barrier. Some would say that’s asking a bit much from a first-year starter, but with 619 yards last year and rarely the opportunity to get into a rhythm, I think it’s a realistic expectation. Add in the fact that Logan Thomas will often need to rely on the running game as he runs through his learning curve, and I think that Wilson will be the backbone of our offense, tasked with creating the majority of our offensive production.
With this in mind, I even think a year similar to that of Darren Evan’s 2008 campaign isn’t too far of a stretch. Those close to the program also seem to think that our offensive line is one of the most experienced and cohesive in years. This could be a formula for a spectacular 2011 rushing campaign.
The reason I have such confidence in his abilities isn’t only based on the positive reviews he’s received, but also due to the concerns many seem to have that I think are a bit overplayed. Many seem to question whether or not he has the durability to be an every-down back. At roughly 200 lbs he’s roughly 10 lbs lighter than Ryan Williams was. While for most I would see this as cause for a bit of concern, it’s David Wilson we’re talking about.
According to this article on Virginia Tech's helmet impact study, Wilson sustained an impact of 225 G’s during a game against Wake Forest. After the hit he simply bounced up and went to the huddle while the defender he crushed stayed down with a concussion.
We can see that Wilson is, in fact, made of Adamantium. He’s a Pachycephalosaurus dressed in orange and maroon. I also believe that all 200 lbs of him is pure, solid muscle. His front squat record of 445 lbs broke none other than Darren Evan’s, and a 346 lb power clean (another tailback record) shows that his upper body and back are incredibly strong as well. This provides for great balance and tackle breaking capabilities.
As far as fatigue goes, once again, this is David Wilson. Since the day he set foot on campus we’ve heard hyperbole after hyperbole of how energetic and athletic this kid is. He catches woodland creatures for kicks, and when a teammate wouldn’t dare him to climb up to the roof of Cassell Coliseum, he dared himself and did it anyway. Somehow I don’t think his endurance will come into question much next season. My only concern with him is his lack of patience in waiting for blocks to form (which in my mind, is the most David Wilson thing ever), but this issue seems to have been addressed under the tutelage of Shane Beamer (and Billy Hite), and he’ll only improve.
With all of this, I think I’ll set the over/under at 1,200 rushing yards, with the potential for many more all-purpose yards. What do you guys think? I could be way off in as I may just have too much faith in his athleticism alone, or that he amazes us all a-la Ryan Williams 2009 and blows all expectations out of the water. Obviously I’m hoping we use him as much as we possibly can, given his talents and capability to score at any time. Others may feel we may need to supplement Oglesby often to give him rest, but I see next season as the David Wilson show, and I’m sure number 4 wouldn’t have it any other way.