By Brandon Speck
TUPELO – Jarvis Wilson didn’t scare anybody on defense last season. Because he didn’t play defense.
Things are about to get a lot more frightening.
“I think they see that big SEC-type kid back there on crack blocks and how he has a tendency to be physical,” Tupelo coach Trent Hammond said, “really physical at times.”
“They,” being schools like Mississippi State – so much so, the Bulldogs pulled the trigger with an offer on the low-flying Tupelo senior free safety.
Wilson (6-foot-2, 197) has a hard-hitting reputation that is growing by the day.
A slot receiver last season, Wilson rushed for 343 yards and six touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 359 yards. He was going to wide receiver camps and Hammond encouraged him to work out at defensive back as well.
He did and it has paid off with a scholarship.
“It makes me want to work even harder,” Wilson said.
Let’s get physical
It will pay off for the defending North 6A champ Golden Wave as well. Hammond said as soon as Tupelo lost to Oak Grove in the state championship game, the staff started discussing personnel. A move for Wilson made sense.
“We felt like it could help our team,” Hammond said. “He’s bought into it over the course of the spring and has become pretty physical.”
A big body in the secondary, Wilson says he wants to improve on his hips and speed. He only has a handful of practices at the position, but Mississippi State assistant Tony Hughes watched one of them and saw all he needed to see, Wilson flying around making plays.
“He’s a clean slate, so to speak,” Hammond said, “no good habits or bad habits to overcome there.”
Joining the Bulldogs as an athlete is still a possibility, but Wilson is quickly making a name for himself on defense.
Wilson is soft-spoken, just not on the field, flying around spring practice this past week. He’s not soft-hitting and he’ll have many more opportunities this year to make known what Mississippi State already knows.
“I just like playing football, man,” said Wilson.