Defensive Player of the Year, Donovan Wilson, Woodlawn, Sr.

Woodlawn safety Donovan Wilson patrolled the defensive backfield, quietly reading the opposing quarterbacks’ eyes until … he makes his break.

“I bait him (the quarterback),” Wilson said. “When you get the chance, you just gotta turn into a receiver. You can’t let the receiver catch it, you turn into a receiver.”

Wilson intercepted an area-high 13 passes and is The Times’ All-City Defensive Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior added 70 tackles, five fumbles forced and two recovered. He was also an effective receiver, catching 57 passes for 860 yards and nine touchdowns.

“(Being a receiver) gives you better ball skills,” Wilson said. “But I like the contact, especially on (opposing) receivers.”

He was selected to the Class 4A All-State team as a defensive back, continuing the tradition of hard-nosed defensive Knights.

“It’s a family atmosphere here, and it’s a lot of guys just working together and putting in a lot of work,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back next year, so I think they can make a run in the playoffs.”

Wilson was part of a formidable secondary with Henry Black and Antrayvon Adams.

Woodlawn flashed its potential at times in Jerwin Wilson’s first season as head coach, winning the last two regular season games to reach 5-5 before losing at DeRidder in the playoffs.

While Woodlawn welcomes back most of its starters, Jerwin Wilson said no one can replace Donovan Wilson.

“His leadership — he was an extension of the coaches,” Jerwin Wilson said. “He studies hard and puts himself and others in the right position.

“We’ll try our best … but we obviously know we won’t get the same production he provided.”

Wilson is mulling over his college suitors after decommiting from Louisiana Tech this past weekend. He says he has visits scheduled to Utah, TCU and LSU.

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