- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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BLACKSBURG, Va. -- In an effort to learn more about his players, Virginia Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer had each of them fill out a general form about where they’re from, their family, academics, and their hobbies and interests.
David Wilson filled out the latter with “acrobatics.”
“That was a first,” Beamer said with a laugh.
“Oh lord,” quarterback Logan Thomas said with a laugh when asked about Wilson. “He just has so much energy he doesn’t have a clue what to do with it.”
Wilson, who claims to have once done as many as 20 back-flips in a row, runs a 4.29 in the 40-yard dash and is an integral member of Virginia Tech’s track team, will now get a chance to showcase his athleticism as the Hokies’ primary ball carrier. Following the early departures of record-setting running backs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams to the NFL, there are 10 fullbacks and running backs remaining on the roster, and only three of them -- Wilson, Josh Oglesby and Tony Gregory -- were recruited as scholarship players.
“I’ve heard of one player at a position leaving school early,” Shane Beamer said, “but in all my years, I’ve never heard of losing two guys like that with Darren and Ryan.
“It’s a concern,” Beamer said. “… For Oglesby and some of these fullbacks, it’s a heck of an opportunity for them. We’re going to have to cross-train some of the guys. Some of the fullbacks will have to know tailback and things like that. This spring is a concern and it’s major concern when you get into fall and we start playing games.”
Unless, of course, Wilson capitalizes on his potential and the depth behind him develops. He and Beamer watched a lot of film together of last season.
“As good as he was, and as electric as he was, I think there’s a lot of things that he can do better,” Beamer said. “We’ve talked about that.”
Going into this season, Wilson said he just wants the staff to know they have a “sturdy” running back.
“I definitely want to be the guy on the team where, if we’re in a tough situation, the coaches feel comfortable with having me on the field and know that I’m going to come through with a play,” he said.
Wilson has already made a name for himself with his game-changing plays as a kick returner, but this offseason he’s working on becoming a more complete back. Last season he was third on the team in rushing with 619 yards on 113 carries (5.5 yards per carry). He scored five rushing touchdowns, four receiving and two on kickoffs.
Not a bad start, but he knows the expectations are much higher this year.
“There’s only three scholarship running backs in there, and with me being the third-string last year, I’m definitely expected to be the man this year,” Wilson said. “I’m definitely ready. Since I put down my high school pads and picked up college ones I’ve been expected to have a strong role in college football. Now my opportunity is here. I have to take advantage of it.”
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