Anyone who has seen Duwyce Wilson’s 6-foot-3, 210-pound physique knows that the former Columbus East and Indiana University football player understands something about physical conditioning.
But when it comes to his new job this summer of training kids ages 9 and older, Wilson might have an even more important message.
Wilson, who was Indiana Mr. Football at wide receiver in 2008 at East, fought
his way through an assortment of injuries during his college career in Bloomington. When he finally got back to full health his senior year of 2013, he was seldom targeted by Hoosier quarterbacks. That had to be tremendously frustrating for a guy who had a huge freshman season (32 catches, 488 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns) at Indiana.
Despite those frustrations (he caught 15 balls for 167 yards his senior year at Indiana), Wilson never let negativity seep into his consciousness.
“It definitely was frustrating most of the time (his senior season),” Wilson said. “They don’t see you or they take you out of the game for whatever reason. But it helped me to learn how to deal with adversity and challenges.
“I learned how to not get down on myself, and I kept knowing my chance would come.”
Wilson has seen teammates become overwhelmed with negative thoughts, which eventually made them walk away from the game.
“You need to stay positive,” Wilson said.
“If you lose interest, if you start not to like the sport from things that are happening, then you lose everything. Don’t let negative thoughts creep in and become you. Keep fighting. Prove doubters wrong.”
Columbus resident Harvey Scruggs, who owns H3 Athletix, a company that trains and mentors young football players and educates them about the recruiting process, said Wilson has long been a family friend and a member of the same church. When he heard Wilson would be available this summer, Scruggs jumped at the opportunity to hire him.
“He’s personable, and he’s always been good around kids,” Scruggs said. “He knows the nuances of recruiting, and he can pass those along. He has been to the highest level of college football, and he can share that experience and the knowledge of what it takes to be strong academically while you are getting there. He obviously knows how to take care of his body through nutrition.”
Wilson might not be available long. He has tried out for a Canadian Football League team and is waiting to hear if they can strike a deal. He was hoping to get a tryout in an NFL camp but pulled a hamstring during Indiana’s pro day workouts.
“When they don’t see you work out, it’s tough to get into a camp,” he said.
“By the time I got healthy, the NFL really didn’t know much about me. Through my agent, I got a shot at the Canadian Football League.
“I am still trying to play football, no matter what. The Canadian Football League team told me to stay ready and be in shape.”
While he awaits word from the CFL, he is staying busy with Scruggs’ group.
“The best thing I can do is give (young players) my knowledge,” Wilson said. “I want them to understand that it is hard work and dedication that gets you there. They have to decide how much they want to put in and get out.”
Although not many kids will be blessed with the physical tools that helped Wilson develop into a major college talent, he said they should understand they can always maximize their talent, whatever level that might be.
“My message to them will be never to give up if it is something you want to do. Stay dedicated and stay positive.”
Wilson received a degree from IU in arts and humanities. “Getting my degree was the most important thing,” he said. “You can’t play football forever; everyone knows that.
“I would like to get into sign language interpreting. I enjoy it very much, and I took all the classes I could in college.”
Wilson’s parents, Duwyce Sr. and Celestine Sanders,
are deaf, so signing was a way of life for him.
“It’s a great way to communicate,” he said. “I am looking into coaching a deaf football or basketball team to be able to use what I have learned.”
If Wilson eventually goes into coaching, he could pick up some valuable experience this summer. Scruggs’ group works with athletes such as Columbus North’s Weston Moore and Drew Schoberl and Columbus East’s Markell Jones and Tyler Campbell, among others. Scruggs assembles teams of some of the most successful players in Indiana, and they compete in sanctioned seven-on-seven tournaments.
For more information on Scruggs’ group or working with Wilson, go to preps2prospects.com.
Wilson joined a staff that includes Jahkeen Gilmore (Carolina Panthers) and Elite 11 quarterback coach Jimmy Weddle.