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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Column: Duwyce Wilson could be future top reciever for IU

Football v Virginia

The Hoosiers needed somebody to make a play.

They led Virginia 24-23 in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t afford to give the Cavaliers the ball back.

They needed to keep the pressure on.

It was third down, and sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker was under pressure. He had to find a receiver fast.

Wide receiver Duwyce Wilson broke through the middle. He was well covered by Virginia’s defense. But with few options left, Wright-Baker threw it anyway.

Wilson stopped in his tracks, reached back for the throw that was a little off, and made a catch as he went to the ground.

Moments later, in a similar situation, Wright-Baker threw it up for Wilson in the end zone. Again, he was well covered, but Wilson left his feet and went up to get it for a late touchdown.

It was a remarkable example of Wright-Baker trusting a young receiver. Wright-Baker knew if he gave Wilson a chance, he’d come through in a big way.

“We would always talk and throw extra back in the summer,” Wilson said of his relationship with Wright-Baker. “We’re just good buddies. He trusts me and all the other receivers out there.”

Few people were talking about Wilson before the season. I know I wasn’t.

He played sparingly in the season opener against Ball State because of an injury, but he was key (five catches, 60 yards, one TD) in the Hoosiers’ attempted comeback against Virginia last Saturday.

Wilson isn’t a player that gets a lot of attention. His reserved personality doesn’t demand it. But his play against the Cavaliers opened a lot of eyes — including mine. Maybe Wilson isn’t the third option after all. Maybe a guy that opened the season absent from the depth chart will thrive in his new role.

“I’ve just seen him grow a lot as a player,” Belcher said. “He’s been out there making plays since he got here. It definitely paid off on Saturday. I’m really proud of him.”

If the Hoosiers are going to compete with the Big Ten’s top teams this season, Wilson must continue to grow as a receiver. He can’t be inconsistent like young players tend to be. He can’t have seven catches one week and two the next.

Chances are, Wilson is going to get more opportunities like the ones against Virginia if teams start trying to take Belcher away on the
opposite side.

Belcher said teams haven’t played him any differently than they did last year, but he knows it’s coming.

Wilson has to be ready when it does.

“I definitely feel like (I can put the team on my shoulders),” Wilson said. “So does everybody else on the team. If they double Damarlo, Kofi feels like he can put the team on his shoulders. I feel like that. Even the freshmen feel like that. If it comes down to that, we’ll definitely be ready.”

Wilson still has plenty of room to improve. He makes spectacular catches on a regular basis, but he sometimes fails to make easier ones. His 6-foot-3-inch, 196-pound frame is a little slight to be a featured player in the Big Ten. And he’s sometimes struggled to stay healthy.

But all of a sudden, Wilson looks like the next big thing for the IU offense. Maybe he’s even the next Damarlo Belcher.

“Hey, he could be,” Belcher said, with Wilson listening in. “But he may want to be his own man and make his own footprints for himself, like I did. We’ll see.”

The Hoosiers have been close in each of the first two weeks, but they are 0-2. This time around, they’ll finally win in a big way to earn Kevin Wilson his first victory as a head coach.

Look for Dusty Kiel and/or Tre Roberson to get a look at QB if it’s a blowout in the second half.

IU 34, South Carolina State 14

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