WHEELERSBURG – Tanner Wilson’s impact on the football field is immense. So much so that on Wednesday evening, Wilson signed his letter of intent to enroll and play football at West Virginia State University at his signing ceremony at Wheelersburg High School.
“My whole life, I’ve wanted to be able to play college football,” said Wilson Wednesday afternoon. “At West Virginia State, it just felt like a great fit. They have a new athletic facility, they want me to come in as a freshman and make an impact. That’s how I’ve always been, that level of competitiveness.”
Wilson played his senior season for the state semifinalist Pirates team after playing his first three seasons for Ironton, and his numbers for the staunch Pirates defense were more than impressive. During Wheelersburg’s fourteen game season which includes their four postseason games, Wilson broke the 100 tackle mark with 104 combined tackles on the season, 71 of which were unassisted and 33 of which were assisted, including two quarterback sacks and a forced fumble.
“I’ve never really had that in the past,” said Wilson when speaking of his and his teammates combined efforts on the defensive side of the football, “Our defensive line, and really our defense as a whole was stacked. I felt like every game we went into, we had the advantage because of our defense.”
The ability to play right away was one of the main factors that pushed Wilson towards joining Colin Boehm of Portsmouth as the two Scioto County players to sign with West Virginia State.
“They have a nice campus. I’ve always been a competitor, I like to compete for my spot. To come in as a freshman, I wanted to be able to go in right away and make an impact.”
Wilson said that his one year at Wheelersburg helped acclimate him for what an unfamiliar college setting could present upon graduation this spring.
“I think that kind of made me ready for college honestly. Coming in with new kids, new coaches, new everything. I love it here. The community as a whole, everyone here is so supportive. It’s a unique place and a unique experience. Making it to the semifinals, playing at that level was great.”
Wilson said that he plans on majoring in nursing upon enrolling at West Virginia State this fall. Three weeks ago, Wilson was selected to be one of three student athletes from the SOC to compete in the North-South Ohio All-Star game in Massillon later this spring.
Without those friends and family who were present at the signing ceremony to support Wilson, he says he wouldn’t have been able to make it to where he is today.
“It means everything to me. My whole family who is here, they’ve stuck with me through Ironton and through Wheelersburg, they’re going to stick with me through college. That’s what means the most.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT