The Arkansas Razorbacks have had one of the worst offseasons in college football history. Over the last several months, the Razorbacks have lost their coach, along with several players, amid all of the controversy.
At the end of last season, it looked as though the Razorbacks were ready to turn the corner and become a mainstay atop the college football rankings, but all of that has changed. Despite the turmoil, the Razorbacks will have one player that they can count on this year: quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Wilson came onto the scene last year with the inevitable task of filling the shoes of the wildly successful Ryan Mallett. Wilson was up to the task and had an incredible campaign in 2011 and will repeat that success in the upcoming season.
Despite all the problems for the program, Wilson has emerged as a true leader. He was very vocal in the aftermath of the off-the-field controversies and spoke freely and loudly about the direction of the football program.
This did not go unnoticed by his fellow coaches and his new head coach, John. L. Smith. The Sporting News reported that Wilson was one of six players to be voted in as a team captain. This is the second year that Wilson has held this honor, and he will wear it well.
Wilson has another thing going for him this year: talent. Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and he will have a bright future in the NFL.
In the latest mock draft released by SI’s Andrew Perloff, Wilson is projected to go No. 1 overall, which is a reflection of his talent. If Wilson can guide his team through this stormy period and deliver with a BCS bowl berth, he will be a legitimate contender for the Heisman Trophy.
Wilson will also have some of the best offensive weapons in college football today. The Razorbacks are deep at running back, led by Knile Davis and a familiar target at wideout in Cobi Hamilton. Wilson is looking good early, as he passed for over 400 yards, completing 31-of-41 pass attempts in the Red-White game. Wilson may have lost his head coach, but offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is still with the team, giving Wilson the luxury of playing in a familiar system.
Wilson had the option to go to the draft a year ago, but he chose to stay with his beloved Razorbacks. He still has a strong desire to win the SEC Championship and compete for the national title. He realizes that a successful campaign with the Hogs would lead to a great 2013 NFL draft, and he is not settling for anything but the best.
Wilson made it very clear via Arkansas Sports 360.com that he wants to be the best.
“Well, I haven’t told a whole lot of people this, but there’s always a drive, a competitiveness inside me and when I look at the draft, I want to go No. 1,” Wilson said. “That’s my goal. It’s a lofty goal. Now, any team that picks me I’m going to be happy for and I’m going to work to hopefully have a great career. It’s flattering to hear those type of projections. I’m honored by that, but I’m doing what I do now. Win a bunch of football games here and those things will take care of themselves.
“But I do have high goals.”
It is that type of hunger and drive that will make Tyler Wilson one of the best quarterbacks in the country in 2012.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist and can be followed on Twitter here. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org