|North Meck grad Emanuel Wilson runs as a Golden Bulls standout|
|JCSU freshman RB produces record-breaking threat|
|Published Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:24 am|
|PHOTO | DENNIS SWITZER|
|J.C. Smith running back Emanuel Wilson gives the Golden Bulls a play-making threat in the backfield. He set the school single-game rushing record with 265 yards on 12 carries in a 34-31 win against Benedict last week.|
No one in Johnson C. Smith football history has run as far or effectively in a game as Emanuel Wilson.
The redshirt freshman set a school record with 265 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries in the Golden Bulls’ 34-31 win against Benedict last week. Even after the reality of a record-breaking effort settled in, Wilson was subdued.
“I was happy, but not satisfied,” he said Monday after practice.
Wilson, a North Mecklenburg High graduate, flashed possibilities in the opener against nationally ranked Wingate with 54 yards on 16 carries, before exploding against Benedict. He scored on runs of 64, 73 and 83 yards to earn CIAA offensive player of the week honors.
“I was waiting to get him into the fold,” JCSU coach Kermit Blount said. “Last year he was ineligible because of the academic side of it coming out of high school. We knew he had that kind of potential to be that kind of back, and certainly I’m one of those coaches if I’ve got one I’m going to feed him.”
Said Wilson: “My first game, I was trying to get accustomed to college football because I sat out last year, so I took sitting out as an improvement. My second game, I came back with more of a mentality of improvement, more motivation to keep pushing.”
Wilson, who is listed at 5-11, 210 pounds, has the stature and speed to confront defenders or accelerate away from them. Either way, it sets the offensive tone.
“I call myself a balanced back,” he said. “I run people over, or I make a move. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
Blount isn’t eager to overwork Wilson, though. The Golden Bulls rotated carries among multiple backs, who combined for 32 yards and no touchdowns, something Wilson accomplished an average of once every four carries.
“He didn’t touch it but 12 or 13 times on Saturday, “ Blount said, “but we ran only 40 offensive plays. Sammy Crouch got a chance to touch it a little bit, [Desean] Binyard touched it, Dedric Robinson touched it, so we spread it around to keep him a little fresh. He had a 60-yard run, a 70-yard run, an 80-yard run, so that’s a lot to take in one ball game, [and] we wanted to give him a little break as well.”
Blount praised Wilson for his work off the field. On the field, Wilson prefers to let his play do the talking.
“I’m much more of a leader by example,” he said. “I’m not very vocal, I just lead by example and get the work done, then follow through.”
Wilson was an under-the-radar signing despite rushing for more than 1,000 yards at North Meck as a senior. Academically, his grades weren’t stellar, but JCSU offensive line coach Montaze McCrae provided encouragement during the recruiting process that convinced Wilson to sign with the Golden Bulls.
“In high school, I really didn’t have my grades straight,” Wilson said. “I got my grades straight my senior year and coach McCrae, he stayed on me a lot, helped me a lot, showed me more like a family here. I just came here and got the job done.”
Another benefit JCSU offered Wilson is proximity to home, especially his mom, Ronada Clark. Manuel Wilson, Emanuel’s dad, died when the junior Wilson was 10 years old.
“I just wanted to stay close to my family,” he said. “I just wanted her to see me play in the city of Charlotte where I was raised. I just wanted to put the city on my back and show them I can do it.”
With Wilson’s record day behind him, it’s on to the next test Saturday at Virginia Union, where the Panthers are certain to be wary of the Golden Bulls’ new backfield threat. It’s a challenge to overcome – whether that means plowing through the line or going over the top with the pass.
“I’m looking forward to that this weekend – putting [more] people in the box to contain me, so I’ve got the power of believing in God, so I got it,” Wilson said. “I look towards it because if they contain me, the passing game will be open.”
Notes: Wilson, safety Camerron Ellis and kick returner Damon Rice were named CIAA offensive back, defensive back and special teams player of the week respectively.
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