- - Friday, December 23, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. — David Wilson ran up and down the field with abandon. His uniform was crisp and new with traces of burgundy and gold.

His father was close by with a camera capturing the boy’s movements. They were the only two people out there, but Wilson was hamming it up like there were thousands of fans cheering for him. He ran the ball. He tossed it. He kicked it.

Wilson wore a tiny replica Washington Redskins jersey that day. He was only 2 years old, but the mold was cast.

Wilson, Virginia Tech’s starting tailback, was destined to be a pro football player. For as long as he can remember, it’s all he wanted to do.

“He was running and punting the ball and throwing it. He was doing it all by himself, and I was taking the pictures,” said Dwight Wilson, David’s father. “The grass was almost at his ankles. It was funny. He just had a love for the sport.”

With much delight, Wilson, now 20, has dazzled Hokies fans with his electrifying runs the past three seasons, but the junior from Danville has remained fixated on the NFL.

The second-team All-American values his college experience, but recent evidence suggests he might be leaning toward declaring for the NFL draft following Tech’s game against No.13 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3.

Wilson, a projected first-round pick by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, said last week he already has decided whether he’ll return for his senior season or go pro, but will wait until after the bowl game to announce his intentions.

He recently said there were pros and cons to staying in school. If he returned to Tech for his senior season, he’d be a Heisman Trophy candidate for a national championship contender. But there’s also the possibility of having a subpar season next year, or even worse, suffering an injury that could compromise his draft standing.

If he goes to the NFL, he’ll achieve a lifelong dream and receive a hefty paycheck. He was stumped when asked if there were any cons to heading to the NFL a year early.

“I can’t really think of any negatives,” he said.

Dwight Wilson recently said there is a “high percentage” his son would leave school after this season.

“I think he should go,” he said.

When David was young, he didn’t care much for college football. But he loved the NFL, so much so that he’d fuss with his father and older brother Ronald when they wouldn’t let him watch it on television.

Wilson said he was 5 years old when he realized he wanted to play professionally.

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