Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to the NFL Draft April 22nd, Buffalobills.com will profile one of the more highly touted prospects at each position in the 2010 draft class. A position group video preview will accompany each of these feature stories in the media lounge featuring the top five prospects at each position. Our pre-draft feature series continues with Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson.
When you’re a three-time state champion football player and you’re the championship game MVP as a junior and a senior, you earn All State honors and your high school is just a few miles from a Division 1 BCS conference school, you’re expecting to be recruited heavily and have more than your share of scholarship offers. That was not the case however, for one Kyle Wilson.
Wilson went 33-3 in three varsity seasons including two undefeated campaigns for Piscataway high school, just a few miles from the Rutgers University campus. But when it came time to survey the college football landscape Wilson had to stump for interest from schools.
“I didn’t really get recruited out of high school,” said Wilson. “Maybe they thought I was too small. I hear that a lot. I’m not exactly sure. I was probably the same height, about 175 pounds.”
The 5’10” 194-pound Wilson took matters into his own hands to drum up interest in what he could offer a college team.
“I just sent out a tape,” said Wilson, whose older brother Jerry put his highlight video together. “I sent the tape to the top 50 schools.”
Wilson got offers from four schools and only two were Division 1-A and not all of them came right away.
“I got four offers back from Boise State, Rutgers, Richmond and Delaware,” said Wilson. “Rutgers came in late and that pretty much was it.”
So Wilson headed west to Boise to suit up for the Broncos. With his older brother living in Sacramento it kept him from feeling completely detached from his east coast roots.
A Princeton and MIT graduate, Jerry Wilson attended Boise State games by driving an R-V up from Sacramento. This past January he also drove to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl where Wilson was shutting down some of the best receivers in the draft class, with a backpedal some consider second to none.
“It’s something I take pride in,” Wilson said. “The game isn’t complicated to me. It’s fun and it comes naturally to me.”
A three-year starter for Boise State, Wilson molded himself into a cover corner that’s suddenly being mentioned as one of the top three cornerbacks in the draft class.
Wilson is usually at his best when it’s one of the biggest games of the year. In 2007 as a sophomore he had 10 tackles in Boise State’s dramatic upset win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. In 2008 he had a pair of interceptions in a gigantic win over Oregon in Eugene. This past season he had a sack and a forced fumble in an upset bowl win over TCU.
Wilson had 11 interceptions in his college career and offers punt return ability as evidenced by his career average of 12.7 and five return touchdowns. As a senior Wilson also had a pair of interception returns for scores.
“I feel like I can return with the best of them,” said Wilson. “Every time I get the ball I think I can score. My biggest strength is my playmaking ability. I cover, I hit, I can do it all.”
Though a pulled hamstring cost him a chance to run at the NFL combine, he did put up an impressive 25 reps on the bench press. Wilson made up for it at his pro day clocking a 4.42 in the 40 along with a 38-inch vertical and a 10’2” broad jump.
Of course all of the quality game tape he’s got now would never have happened had it not been for the high school highlight reel his brother put together for him.
“He still makes a lot of my videos,” said Wilson. “If it wasn’t for that first tape he sent out, I probably wouldn’t be here now. I’m definitely grateful for it.”
Critics knock Wilson’s run support, claiming he’s only a ‘grab and swipe’ tackler, but he did post a career-high 43 tackles as a senior. The Boise State product just laughs it off.
“All I can do is control what I can control on the field and things I can physically handle,” he said. “It’s all fun to me. If I continue to work hard and do my best, everything will turn out fine.”