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Quarterback for the Pack

NC State commit leads Cavs to best record since 2016.
Will Etu
RNE quarterback Will Wilson gains yards during the Cavs 48-21 victory over Lugoff-Elgin on OCT. 13. Wilson has helped lift RNE to one of the best seasons in recent memory.

Growing up, Will Wilson was not someone who people thought was going to become a quarterback committing to a Division 1 college after his sophomore year.

In fact, to some, he didn’t look like he would be a quarterback at all.

His mom, Helena, says that given his physique, he was told his destiny was probably to have “his hands in the dirt” and was more suited to be a lineman.

“His body did not look like the typical quarterback body,” Helena said. “In fact his weight was too heavy for the Pop Warner [youth league] and the other leagues for him to be quarterback.”

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Will always had other ideas. He is now 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds.

“I like to speak things into existence,” Will said. “I spoke this into existence. I knew I was going to be this.”

“This” is a successful season both individually and as a team. Will, a junior, has passed for 2,022 yards, 22 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,009 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a team the Cavs (6-4) have their best record since 2016 when they went 5-5 on the season, and will be facing Bluffton in the first round of the playoffs.

Among his top efforts was when he had rushed for 270 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 92 passing yards and another score in RNE’s wild 44-43 win over Keenan.

Coach Wilson has shared his three-step plan for making the RNE football team great: First change the mindset, second teach them to fight, and lastly you finish. This year is where the third phase kicked in.

“We finished this year, then we plan to continue finishing through the process of the playoffs,” coach Wilson said. “The record shows that.”

Will received 12 Division 1 offers from schools all around the country, including Arkansas, Duke, TCU, Cincinnati, Penn State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina State, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, James Madison, and local favorite University of South Carolina. He made his verbal commitment to NC State this past June.

With all of these D1 offers, what made NC State so special?

“It just felt right, I love everybody, the staff, the culture there, you know and coach Doeren,” said Will, who not only stands out on the field but also in the classroom with a GPA of 4.7.

“His mom handles academics and I handle sports,” coach Wilson said. “Our job was to make sure he got as many choices as he could.”

While every athlete sees something in the school, the school also sees something in the athlete.

“They saw a player that was hungry,” Will said, “eager to be great, eager to learn, a guy that can lead a team, lead a team to championships.”

Colleges also saw what Will does to become a player schools want.

“I pride myself on wanting to be great, so wanting to be great you know, you have to do the extra things when you don’t want to. You have to watch the film, you have to work out and you have to wake up and do all the extra things,” Will said. “I love the game so much I don’t mind.”

Especially as the team’s quarterback Will takes his leadership responsibilities seriously.

“When I make mistakes he’s there to tell me to keep going and pick it up” said Enosh Jean-Philippe, a senior receiver on the team. “When it comes to off the field if I need help with classes or anything he’s there for me making sure I get the help.”

“Will’s mentality is do as I do not as I say. He leads by example and he doesn’t let anyone outwork him,” coach Wilson said.

With all of the options of colleges, why choose so early?

“A lot of schools only take one quarterback and you don’t want to miss your opportunity, but when you know it’s right, it’s right,” Will said.

On the field, in the classroom, and in the real world, Will prepared and worked to get where he is today.

“I’m ready to do it,” he said. “I’m ready to get started.”

This story was originally published on The Saber on November 2, 2023.