90i #27: Evan Wilson
6'-6", 250 lbs.
Senior (on scholarship, 2 years to play 1)
Woodstock High School / Woodstock, Georgia
Jersey Number: #89
What I Know About Him:
Kind of an odd trajectory to Evan Wilson's career. From the moment he verballed, he was always going to be compared to Iowa's CJ Fiedorowicz. CJ had decommitted from Illinois after our disastrous 2009 season, and Wilson, who committed just before signing day, was more or less our replacement for Fiedorowicz in that class.
After their freshman seasons, it looked like we had found a replacement tight end who was better than the one we lost. Fiedorowicz played as a true freshman at Iowa and had zero catches - Wilson started the entire season at Illinois and caught 10 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns (including the halfback option pass he caught at Penn State to lock up our first win in Happy Valley). And Wilson had proven to be a solid blocker from the tight end position in Paul Petrino's offense.
His sophomore year was similar. Nine catches for 89 yards, three touchdowns, and solid blocking. And the midway point, Wilson's numbers were better than Fiedorowicz', and Fiedorowicz was playing in an offense that likes to feature the tight end.
And then last year happened. Fiedorowicz had 45 catches at Iowa. Wilson at Illinois had... two. Two catches for nine total yards. Now, most of this was due to the offense. It's hard to throw to the tight end when you're a "rush for -1 yards, incomplete pass to the tailback in space, quarterback sacked, punt" offense. That offense really didn't have a role for a traditional tight end, so Wilson's numbers (and playing time) dropped off significantly.
What I Expect From Him:
Well, for starters, I expect him to duodecuple his catches from last year. DUODECUPLE. You came here looking for an opinion and I just dropped a HOT SPORTS TAKE on you. Evan Wilson - TWELVE TIMES more catches than last year.
Which shouldn't be that hard. If we're going to throw to the tight end, and we have three of them, and one of them is an experienced senior, having been a starter his first game his freshman year, now playing in an offense that fits him well... he should increase his catches.
Watching the spring game again last week I noticed that Wilson lined up as a fullback several times. We won't really know how Cubit will use his tight ends and fullbacks until the SIU game (actually, we won't know until the Cincy game, because I think we'll be all vanilla all the time against SIU). Will they all line up at fullback, h-back, and tight end? Will each of them have a different role? How much will they be called upon to block?
Once we get the answers to these questions, we'll have a pretty good idea how much Wilson will factor in to the offense this fall. For now, just count on one thing: DUODECUPLE.