Since the player-of-the-year award was first given out by the Times-Dispatch in 1979, no player has ever won the trophy twice.
Collegiate’s Russell Wilson just did. Since he will soon have two plaques on his mantelpiece that no one else has, he’d like to pass the award to someone else, perhaps with one of his laser-like spirals that stuck to his Cougars teammates.
“Toby Desch. He was my center my sophomore and junior year,” Wilson said of the former honorable mention All-Metro performer. “His dad [Chris] died in a plane accident [Dec. 10].
I’m just so proud of Toby. He showed so much courage, so much pride, so much integrity. He just gave the most amazing speech [at the funeral]. He was himself. He didn’t try to be anyone else. I just admire him. I want to give that player-of-the-year award to Toby.”
That’s Russell Wilson, more than just Sports Illustrated’s (Dec. 18 edition) highlighted athlete in its Faces in the Crowd section.
The yes-sir, yes-ma’am type you’d want your daughter, sister or niece to date. A gentleman. A leader. A giver.
Defenses don’t like his giver trait, as the 6-0 190-pounder threw for 3,004 yards and 33 touchdowns on 185 of 313 passing (59 percent), with seven interceptions - down four from 2005. He ran for 1,152 yards (518 more than last year) and 17 TDs, giving defensive coordinators migraines Advil couldn’t cure.
Few quarterbacks thought of throwing Wilson’s way when he lined up at cornerback. When they did, they paid (six interceptions). Ballcarriers, too (64 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries).
It all added up to pace Collegiate to its fourth consecutive Virginia Independent Schools state title, Wilson’s third straight, and a 10-1 mark, Wilson’s first and only blemish as a starting quarterback.
He was 21-1 in his career as a starting QB, 31-2 overall, and accounted for almost six miles of offensive yards (10,116) and 130 TDs in his record-breaking, standard-making career.
“It doesn’t come around too often and it’s happened to me twice,” Wilson said. “I always read the paper. I always wanted to be those guys. At the same time, I always wanted to move on and be better. Move on to play college football and college baseball. Stuff like that.”
Ah, the next level. For those wondering, his N.C. State commitment is as strong as his right arm, despite coach Chuck Amato’s firing. North Carolina, Duke and others have been calling the Wilson household to throw a curveball or two.
But Wilson’s stroked them into the outfield like he does in the spring playing baseball.
“I haven’t really changed my decision,” said the B-student, who has not taken his official visit but has been on the Raleigh campus many times. “I know coach [Tom] O’Brien is one of the best coaches in the country. He brings discipline. I’m going to love that. He kinda reflects [Collegiate] coach [Charlie] McFall to me. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s where I was born. He thinks I’m an excellent quarterback.”
So does McFall: “Different colleges said different things. At first some colleges thought that he was an athlete playing quarterback. Once they saw him, they knew he was a quarterback that was an athlete. If there are kids who are better quarterbacks - I mean the total package - I haven’t seen ‘em. He’s a flat-out quarterback. Special. I really think we are going to see him playing at the next level.”
“Yes!” scream foes. No more Wilson domination, right?
“My little sister, [9-year-old] Anna. She’s fast. She can jump. She can pass. She can catch the football unbelievably well,” Russell said. “I think she’s going to play flag football next year. She’s an incredible basketball player. She’s athletic. I throw hard to her actually. She knows patterns. She knows the hitch. The streak.
“You have no idea.”