FAYETTEVILLE — Former Marian (Ind.) University safety Darrell Wilson will play his senior season at Arkansas as a grad transfer.
Wilson, 6-2, 210, made the decision this week to attend Arkansas. At Marian, he redshirted in 2016. In three seasons, he played in 32 games. He finished with 143 tackles, including 72 solo, intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles. On Thursday he talked about why he chose Arkansas.
“It wasn’t an easy process,” Wilson said. “It was a long. lenthy process. I made the decision to leave in August. Arkansas just showed the most persistence. They showed they actually cared. It just came down to talking to them. Once I got on the phone with the coaches. The rest kinda went from there.”
Wilson said the Arkansas coaches talked to him about what his role in the defense this fall would be.
“Pretty much they are gonna have a couple of blitz packages for me,” Wilson said. “Then they are going to try to incorporate me being in the box, but also having me being in coverage as well using my length. I’m playing in a box nearly my whole career at Marian. I’ve been a box safety so I’m used to coming down and filling gaps, but I can also cover. That’s where I’m going to actually help the most. I can cover guys. I can cover tight ends, I can cover running backs out of the backfield. Anything they need from me I can do.
“Now, it’s just coming out there and putting in the work. From the conversations the first coach that got on the phone was ecstatic. It was enthusiasm from the coaching staff when I got on the phone with them. I just felt it right away. Just talking to them and feeling like I knew them forever. That’s kinda what led to the decision honestly in picking Arkansas. If I get those kind of vibes from just a phone conversation imagine what it’s like in person.”
Wilson said the NFL scouts came in and measured him at 6-foot-2. He plays at 210-pounds so he has good size for a safety. Wilson opted out from Marian on Aug. 6 because the defensive coordinator went to Kansas and his position coach headed to a school in Florida. Wilson decided to wait and play his senior season elsewhere. He had several options other than Arkansas.
“It was Western Kentucky, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois,” Wilson said.
Wilson talked about what he feels his strengths on the field are at safety.
“I’m a great tackler,” Wilson said. “That’s kinda like been my stronghold. I’m not afraid to put my nose in there and hit somebody. Also, I think I’m pretty rangy. I haven’t been able to show my full range because in NAIA they don’t really throw the ball too much. But I think I’m really rangy and I think that’s what you are gonna see…..speed, speed and speed. Me getting my hands on balls and more pass deflections. Also I hope I get a few more interceptions. My strengths are my length and my football IQ. I think that’s one thing that started to separate me toward the end of my career at Marian was my football IQ. I was the quarterback of the defense. I think that comes with the leadership. I take pride in being the leader and quarterback of the defense.”
Wilson will enroll at Arkansas at midterm and go through spring drills.
Arkansas’ Preferred Walk-on Class for 2021
Darrell Wilson, S, 6-2. 210, Grad Transfer Marian University
Patrick Foley, P, 6-2, 195, Omaha (Neb.) Creighton Prep
Francisco Castro, LS, 6-1, 220, Miami (Fla.) Columbus
Preston Crawford, RB, 6-0, 200, Bentonville
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