Virginia Tech’s David Wilson has flair on, off the field

The world has been David Wilson’s stage, but the Allstate Sugar Bowl might be the final collegiate showcase for the Virginia Tech junior running back. Wilson is 29 yards away from a single-season school rushing record after gaining 1,627 yards this season.

david_wilson.jpgEliot Kamenitz/The Times-PicayuneSaid Hokies offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring on running back David Wilson, above: ‘You knew he was going to be able to outrun some potential tacklers, but to break as many tackles as he did throughout the season, to show that physical part of it, you know he’s physically strong.’

Everyone will have to wait until after Tuesday night’s game against Michigan at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to see if he leaves college for the NFL.

The flair certainly isn’t confined to the field for Wilson, however.

Here’s a sampling of the Wilson tales:

He drives a 1978 orange Thunderbird with Ostrich leather-covered seats.

He dresses in a shirt and tie to go to school. “started in high school, and I was getting ready for church the week before school started,” Wilson said. “I looked in the mirror and I thought I looked pretty spiffy. I didn’t know what I was wearing to school the next week, so I just picked out another church outfit to wear to school. I got so many compliments I did it again.”

He did 10 consecutive back-flips from the standing position at the 2010 media day — that topped his 2009 media day tally of eight.

He chased a rabbit once at practice. “That’s true as far as I know,” Hokies Coach Frank Beamer said. “I think he caught it.”

Wilson said there’s more.

“I climbed up the arcs on the outside of Cassell Coliseum all the way to the roof,” Wilson said. “I won’t do it again.”

“There’s something a little loose in there somewhere. I couldn’t tell you,” left tackle Andrew Lanier said. “He’s a different guy; he’s very unique. He likes to kind of do his own thing. I don’t think anyone has a problem with it. It’s interesting to watch him sometimes.”

Different works for Wilson.

“you stand out from the rest of the crowd in a positive way,” he said. “I know there are people who act different just to be different, but I’m just being myself — and I guess some people call that being different.”

Different works for Beamer, too.

He can’t argue with the dimension Wilson gives his offense and the energy he generates with his persona.

“I’m impressed with his car. I want to ride in his car; I haven’t asked him yet,” Beamer said. “He enjoys life. The way he runs football is kind of the way his life is. He’s full speed ahead and all effort, and I’ve never seen him have a bad day.

“He comes out here jumping around practice. you watch him a little bit, he’s jumping, running. He’ll be up in the stands here in a little bit.”

On the field this fall, the 5-foot-10, 205 pound Wilson pounded his way to 100 or more yards in 10 of 13 games. He peaked against Georgia Tech on Nov. 10 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, gaining 175 yards on 23 carries.

“you knew he was going to be able to outrun some potential tacklers,” Hokies offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said, “but to break as many tackles as he did throughout the season, to show that physical part of it, you know he’s physically strong. But to be that physical, with that much speed and to be able to play as physical as he did and break tackles and run through tackles, throughout the year, we knew he had that ability. But to the level that he did it, yes, it did surprise me.”

All that came to a screeching halt against Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Dec. 3. Wilson finished with a season-low 32 yards on 11 carries in the 38-10 loss. A repeat against Michigan’s front probably won’t end favorably for the Hokies on Tuesday night.

“It’s important that we get him going,” Beamer said. “I think our football team, the running game, you need to get it going — and this is a hard team to run against. But I think the ACC championship game — we just never got anything going there, and if we can mix it in there, we’re a pretty good offense. If we can’t mix it in there, then … we need to get him going.”

Wilson is confident, however.

“They play close to the line of scrimmage, so once I get past the first level, there’s going to be of space for me to work with,” he said. “Even the safety is up to the line some times.

“If I do find the creases my offensive line will create, then there’s going to be a lot of space once you get past that first level.”

As for whether Wilson will move to the next level after Tuesday night’s game, that’s still up in the air.

“I’ll make an announcement after the game,” he said.

Tammy Nunez can be reached at or 504.826.3405.

Virginia Tech’s David Wilson has flair on, off the field

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