Columbus East senior receiver gets defensive

Over the past 2 1/2 seasons, Cam Wilson has been a big-play wide receiver for Columbus East.

But this season, Wilson has added another dimension to his football repertoire: shutdown cornerback.

The senior has been starting both ways and playing about 70 snaps a game for the Olympians, who are 4-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 5A.

“Going both ways is cool,” Wilson said. “It’s something new, and I’m glad I’m doing it. It’s definitely a change, but it’s something I’m looking forward to doing at the next level, as well.”

Wilson recently committed to play football at Air Force Academy. He had offers from Air Force and Illinois State.

At Air Force, Wilson plans to major in business management.

“I really liked the location in Colorado Springs,” Wilson said. “It’s sunny most of the year and no humidity. It just felt like home when I was there with all the coaches and at camp. I had a good time.”

As a sophomore, Wilson caught 17 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns. Last year, he led East with 30 catches for 703 yards and seven scores.

Through five games this season, Wilson leads the Olympians with seven receptions for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Wilson has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He has qualified for the state track meet as part of East’s 4×100-meter relay team.

“He has the ability to take it to the house,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “He has good speed. Obviously, we don’t want to give up on that part of it, so he’s still going to be a big part of our offensive plan.”

But Gaddis also had a need in the defensive secondary. He saw enough athletic ability in Wilson to try him at cornerback.

So far, Wilson hasn’t disappointed.

“We moved some guys around, and we know that he has some ability at corner to go out there and man people up,” Gaddis said. “He took the challenge. We told him he was going to have to play basically two ways. He’ll just keep getting better defensively as the year goes on. He just needs to get reps.”

For now, Wilson is playing nearly every snap on defense while the game is still in doubt. He’s been rotating with senior Zach Springhorn on offense.

In practice, Wilson shuttles between the first offensive and defensive units.

“Starting both ways is tough,” Wilson said. “I definitely have to go harder in practice because I don’t get as much of a break as I used to. As a wide receiver, I was able to come of and get some water and go back on the next offensive series.”

Gaddis has noticed Wilson’s work ethic in practice improving tremendously this year.

“Sometimes, your guys that are more gifted athletes don’t feel like they have to come out and work hard,” Gaddis said. “When your best players are your hardest workers, then that’s contagious around the team. I think he’s made a real conscious effort to be a much harder worker and go hard every rep in practice.”

Although most of Wilson’s football experience has been as a receiver, he’s taken a liking to playing defense. If that helps the Olympians win games, he’s more than happy to contribute on both sides of the ball.

“Offense is where my heart lies, but I’m willing to do whatever for the team,” Wilson said. “I try to put the team first and do what I can for the team.”

Cam Wilson

Name: Cam Wilson

School: Columbus East

Year: Senior

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 180

Position: Wide receiver/cornerback

Sports: Football, track and field

College chioce: Air Force

Intended major: Business management

Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.