MONTGOMERY, Ala. — G.W. Carver has had multiple football players recognized for their achievements in recent years, but this was a first for the school.
He joins Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton and Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson as Wolverines to play in All-America games. Both Hamilton and Johnson played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“Growing up I was one of those guys under Shaun Hamilton that looked up to him. He’s been my role model since junior high. I never real thought that I was going to be the next person up here on this stage,” Wilson said. “Coach (Billy Gresham) always said, when they had their Army presentation, ‘Who’s next?’ I kind of set my goal for it and went after it.”
Wilson – at 6-foot-3, 230-pounds – is a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 ranked outside linebacker in the country by ESPN. The ninth annual Under Armour All-America game will be Jan. 2 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl and televised on ESPN 2.
Joining Wilson on the trip is Carver coach Billy Gresham, who was selected to coach linebackers for the All-Star Game. Gresham said he wanted to leave a lasting impression with his final chance to coach Wilson.
“I’m going to ride him hard. That’ll be our last interaction together, I’m going to enjoy it,” Gresham said. “We’re going to have fun that week, but I’m going to coach him hard to make sure he puts a good display on for not just Carver, but for this side of town and the city of Montgomery.”
Lyndell “Mack” Wilson with his family after he was presented with his Under Armour All-America jersey (Photo: Intersport)
Although Carver is an unexpected 3-4, Wilson leads the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss and is being used more as the middle linebacker than the outside.
Wilson was going to wait until the presentation to release his top eight schools, but instead made the announcement last week.
Wilson has Florida sitting the top spot. Next is LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon and USC.
“I like Florida because I feel I can fit in the program very well. The coaches are real laid back, cool. The players bond with the coaches very well. One thing I like about Florida, even when they’re down, they’re going to fight. They play hard, they get after the ball. When they’re down they cause a lot of turnovers,” Wilson said. “Overall, they just have a great program. I would love to go to Florida, but I’m going to wait until signing day to make my decision.”
Wilson has not set his official visits yet, although indicated that he is looking to use three of them for Florida, USC and Oregon. He is expected to take an unofficial visis to LSU this weekend for the game against the Gators.
The news of Wilson’s top schools rapidly made its way through recruiting news cycles, and fans sent Wilson photo-shopped pictures of him wearing a Gators jersey.
“My phone just blew up. I had all types of notifications on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, messages. Friends, family, everybody was surprised that Florida was my No. 1. It’s just been fun. Recruiting has been fun to me. I’m just enjoying every last moment of it,” Wilson said.
USA TODAY High School Sports contributed to this story.