With this being a new era in Denton, a running back with the Mean Green has quietly become one of the more underrated players in the nation.
Jeffrey Wilson is having no problem finding the endzone this season for North Texas. His 13 rushing touchdowns are tied for sixth in the nation. Wilson is also tied for 13th nationally in total touchdowns and his 833 yards rushing is a new career high. But the spotlight isn’t blinding the junior running back from East Texas.
“It really focuses me more,” said Wilson. “With the exposure that you get and the publicity, you have to keep a calm head and stay humble. You have to be able to handle that because some people can get lost in it. That was one thing my parents, coaches and teammates helped me with.”
As Wilson goes, so does the Mean Green. In the four wins this season, Wilson averaged 147.0 yards per game. In the five losses, the average fell to 49.0 per game.
“He’s a guy that can break a tackle and take it to the house,” said head coach Seth Littrell. “Obviously he’s a key factor in what we do. He’s very competitive. If there’s one thing about Jeff, and everybody knows, he wants to be great. He doesn’t like to lose. He doesn’t like having bad games. He takes it personal.”
Despite a 4-5 record, the North Texas Mean Green are still just a couple of wins away from being bowl-eligible with three games left in the regular season. They face a tough task this weekend as they hit the road to face Western Kentucky, who lead the Conference USA East Division at 7-3 (5-1 in conference). North Texas is fourth in the West Division at 2-3 after losing two straight, but the attitude around the team remains positive.
“I think the guys are just hungry,” said Wilson. “The fact that we all sat down and said enough is enough. It’s time to start a new Denton, a new era that we wanted to start. That’s kind of the approach that we took this year, just start a new era on everything.”
Before stepping on campus at North Texas, Wilson was a Class 2A first-team all-state selection as a senior at Elkhart after rushing for 2,749 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was also named the District 11-2A MVP. But it’s what he learned at Elkhart that has allowed him to be successful in Denton.
“Those years made me,” said Wilson. “I would say there’s nothing like smaller town ball because that’s what really humbled me and made me the man I am today.”
While Wilson remains humble, his play on the field is doing all the talking. The Mean Green offense will continue to rely on him as the team continues its quest to go “bowling” at the end of the season.
Written by C. James