Getting to Know: Cody Wilson
July 28, 2010
Leading up to the start of the 2010 football season, TulsaHurricane.com will run profiles on football student-athletes. Today's feature is redshirt freshman linebacker Cody Wilson.
When he was in sixth grade, Cody Wilson went outside in the front yard with his father, a former NFL player, and ran a few gassers across the lawn. By the end, he was so tired and hurt so much that he started crying. That was the defining moment in young Cody's athletic career.
Until that point in his life, Cody Wilson had not been into playing sports very much. It's an ironic fact knowing that his dad played in the NFL and his grandfather was a Big 8 Champion wrestler at Oklahoma State.
Growing up, Wilson was focused more on academics at The University School, which did not even offer sports. He went to Lincoln Christian, where football was not offered until he was in sixth grade. That is when, after expressing interest in playing football, his excited dad took him out in the front yard and asked, "Do you want to get good at football?"
"After that I really grew to love sports," Wilson said. "I wouldn't play, I would just go practice and do drills. From that point on, I've just been in love with whatever sport I was playing. (That day) I just ran two or three gassers and I was so out of shape, I started crying. He grabbed me and said, `If you want to be any good, you have to be sure to take the initiative and work hard on your own.' Ever since he did that, I've just been a training machine. I can't get enough of it."
In many ways, Wilson's football career still has not taken off. After playing in the playing sixth, seventh and eight grades, he stopped football until his junior year of high school. He played basketball during that time, and played on an AAU team that featured some current Division I basketball players.
He decided to start playing football again as a junior. Five games into the season, he had shown enough talent that he was offered a scholarship to The University of Tulsa. He also suffered a broken foot, cutting short his first season back in the game.
"They told me if came out and played and was really good, I could play special teams and be a backup," said Wilson. "And I went out and earned a scholarship, which nobody in my school did. I thought, `You know, I think I'm going to stick with this football thing.' I love it. Personality-wise and the way I enjoy working, football has been a perfect fit."
So excited was he to play Division I football, after playing his full senior season, Wilson graduated high school in December and enrolled at TU for the spring semester.
By enrolling a semester early Wilson, along with two other members of the 2009 signing class, got to participate in spring drills and get a head start on learning about his new team and the ways of college football.
"I'm just a guy who's always winning," Wilson said. "I'm always trying to make sure I'm doing something productive, always working hard. So for me, that last half-year of high school was no use for me because I had already gotten all my credits. I figured I'd come in early and get a jump-start on training, football and school. It was a great choice and I'm really glad I did it. It's really helped a lot. Since I redshirted, I've basically almost been here for two years, but I'm a freshman (on the field) and I'll be 20-and-a-half by the time I step on the field for the first time. I'll get to graduate almost a year early. It's just been a great, great deal for me."
Wilson redshirted the 2009 season, practicing with the team, learning the defense, making his way through classes, and maturing both mentally and physically.
Now, as a 20-year-old redshirt freshman linebacker, Wilson will step onto the football field for the first time in two years when the 2010 season begins in September. He feels he has prepared as much as he possibly can without actually paying any games, with the extra spring, plus the full 2009 season, 2010 spring and two summers.
"Obviously you can't replace play, but I'm as prepared as I can possibly be," said Wilson. "Coming in early, I've been practicing as long as possible. The redshirt year was huge for me. I really grew up last year. Things slowed down. That first spring was pretty fast, but things have really slowed down. I've matured physically and emotionally, so it's been a huge step for me. I'm excited to get to play because I'll be the same age as everybody on the field, except I'll be a freshman. I think it works to my advantage, so I'm really glad I made the choice to do that."
Early in his life, Wilson went to a school that did not offer sports, so he concentrated on academics, and enjoyed playing video games and playing with Lego's. Unlike most of his peers, he did not start playing football until sixth grade, and did not even get serious about it until he was a junior in high school.
"It's been kind of non-traditional. A lot of these guys have been playing, like at the Jenks and Unions, since they were in first grade. It's funny because it's the exact opposite from me, but it all works out. I'm really blessed to be here."
More about Cody Wilson
Favorite movie: Gladiator
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