USF LB Wilson hopes to 'surprise everybody'
USF's first three games -- against I-AA opponents Wofford and Charleston Southern and I-A newcomer Western Kentucky -- may allow the Bulls to play reserves and test their depth, but senior middle linebacker Kion Wilson says he doesn't want to come off the field until he's ready.
"I'm not sure how much I'll play, but I have goals, goals for this season," Wilson said. "I'd like to achieve those goals -- 10-12 tackles every game, then hopefully the younger guys can come in and play."
As the only returning starter at linebacker, Wilson is entrenched as a starter, and the senior said he believes he's earned the right to decide when he comes out of a game. "That's honestly how I feel: Let me get my stats," Wilson said.
Having said that, he's impressed by the progress of the young linebackers pushing for playing time in their first season, along with senior Chris Robinson and junior Sabbath Joseph, likely starters at outside linebacker.
"Jacquian (Williams) and Sam (Barrington) are pushing those guys to get better. They're still in the running. Nothing is in stone right now," he said.
Left off of most preseason all-conference teams, Wilson is hoping he can surprise opponents as a second-year starter. "I have a lot to play for this season," said Wilson, a potential NFL draft pick if he has a strong senior year. "I always like to be the underdog. When you're No. 1, everybody's gunning for you. I'd like to be the one that comes out of nowhere and surprises everybody."
He sees the same situation for USF as a team -- unranked to open the season, picked to finish fourth in the Big East preseason poll, but in position to finish the season higher than expected.
"Hopefully when we get to playing our league games, we'll have the national recognition we deserve and have worked so hard to get," Wilson said.