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Chuck Landon: Wilson gets catches, if not many headlines

Aug. 24, 2011 @ 12:13 AM

Mention Marshall's wide receiver corps and three thoughts come to mind.

No. 1: The trio of true freshmen -- Tommy Shuler, Craig Wilkins and Davonte Allen -- who have turned heads throughout preseason camp.

No. 2: The lingering saga of star deep threat Aaron Dobson, who has been sidelined with a pulled hamstring for just this side of forever.

No. 3: Troy "Mr. Golden-Haired Surprise" Edwards being named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list for the most versatile offensive player in collegiate football.

And Antavious Wilson?

He's not even an after-thought.

Which comes as absolutely no surprise to the unassuming junior wide receiver.

"I've always been that type, ever since high school," said Wilson, a native of Pahokee, Fla. "I had good players on my team, so I was always the underrated guy.

"So, it's nothing new to me.

"When it comes to that, I just do my job just like I did in high school. It's nothing new, really."

Admittedly, Wilson -- all 6-foot, 197 pounds of him -- is not tall, acrobatic and blazingly fast like the 6-3 Dobson, who possesses 4.33-second speed in the 40 and works without a net.

He also isn't a hyped true freshman from a heralded recruiting class.

And, goodness knows, Wilson doesn't have his hair dyed blond a la Evans, who obviously is trying to be a slightly taller version of Sisqo of "Thong Song" fame.

Nope, Tay is just Tay.

No frills. No spills. No flamboyant hair, no flamboyant catches, no flamboyant comments.

That's why Wilson flies below the radar even when he shouldn't. And make no mistake, he shouldn't.

Just consider what the under-rated wideout has accomplished at Marshall.

In 2009, Wilson led the Herd in receptions with 60 as a redshirt freshman. Add in 724 yards and three touchdown catches and it's easy to understand why Wilson was selected to Conference USA's All-Freshman team.

Then, last season, Wilson was on pace to lead Marshall in receptions again, accumulating 29 catches in eight games for 342 yards and five touchdowns. But a knee injury requiring off-season surgery ended his season.

And now?

He's back.

Back making plays. Back flying under the radar. Back seldom getting headlines or interviews.

"Everything is going good," said Wilson, who had two catches for 38 yards in Marshall's scrimmage Saturday. "I'm healthy with my knee. I think my knee is close to 100 percent. I'm running pretty good.

"Once it's time for the season to start, I'll be ready to go."

He always is.

That's because as a collegiate player, Wilson is a consummate pro. He just goes out and does what he is supposed to do.

He has a job and he does it, no questions asked.

Praise? Glory? Accolades?

That's for other guys.

Yet, Wilson isn't without his admirers. Fans who understand the game, folks who aren't oblivious to the nuances of football, people in the know. ... they value Tay Wilson.

"Yes, they do. ... uh, huh," said a smiling Wilson, while nodding his head. "The people who know football realize what I do."

They appreciate his class, his character, his conduct.

Besides, who needs headlines anyway?

Other than this one.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.



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