- - Friday, April 27, 2012

BLACKSBURG, Va. — David Wilson isn’t shy.

He came out of Virginia Tech a year early to take his shot at a pro career. He wore a bow tie on national television when he appeared on ESPN. He had a suit custom made in case he was invited to New York for the NFL draft. He dropped by his alma mater’s spring football practice and did brake stands to show off his new car.

And Wilson didn’t clam up after being selected in the first round of the draft, 32nd overall by the New York Giants.

Where does the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Wilson see himself fitting in with the reigning Super Bowl champions?

“I’m going to come in and try to immediately contribute,” Wilson said Friday by phone from his family’s Danville, Va., home.

He has a good chance. The Giants return starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but lost Brandon Jacobs in free agency to San Francisco in the offseason, making Wilson a bit of a priority pick for the organization.

“This kid’s a hard-nosed player,” New York general manager Jerry Reese said. “He can run inside. He can run outside. I don’t think Ahmad’s role is going to change. He’s going to be our lead dog and again, this guy is going to be a nice piece in our running back stable. It’s up to the coaches how they want to use him.”

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the addition of Wilson should help New York improve its rushing statistics. Last year, the Giants were last in the NFL in rushing at 89.2 yards per game, one of just seven teams in the league to average fewer than 100 yards on the ground.

“We’re looking at the fact that Brandon [Jacobs] is no longer here and we do have to try to balance that out,” Coughlin said. “We believe that you do have to have multiple runners or at least two that can effectively take the field at any time, and this young man, we thought, was one of those that can be a big-play threat.”

Wilson wasn’t invited to New York City for Thursday’s festivities. Most experts projected him as a second-round selection.

Thursday night, as the final picks were being announced, Wilson started looking ahead to Friday’s second round to see which teams might select him.

Then his cell phone rang. A New Jersey phone number was calling and Wilson knew it was the Giants, ending an anxious evening.

“I was in the dark a little bit,” said Wilson, who watched the draft with his family in Danville. “I was hoping to be in the first round. I knew there was a chance. I was on the edge of my seat.”

So were his parents.

“I didn’t expect anything. I said I’m just going to take whatever comes,” Dwight Wilson, David’s father, said Friday. “We didn’t know until the phone rang.”

And then?

“Everyone was real excited,” Dwight Wilson said. “His momma was overexcited.”

Wilson, a junior, rushed for 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns on 290 carries last year as Virginia Tech’s workhorse. He was the third running back selected Thursday, behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson (third to the Cleveland Browns) and Boise State’s Doug Martin (31st to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Wilson became the ninth Hokie to be selected in the first round, a fact he said he wasn’t aware of before Friday.

“That’s a nice stat because there’s been a lot of great players to come through Virginia Tech,” he said.

Now, the personable Wilson is taking his outgoing personality to the Big Apple. And Friday, he said he’s relishing the chance to be in the spotlight.

“Ain’t no stage bigger than New York,” Wilson said.

Read more about the Hokies at VTeffect.com

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