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Tyler Wilson football camp held last week
Former Greenwood Bulldog and Arkansas Razorback Tyler Wilson (left) works with current Bulldogs’ senior Reid Wheeler during Wilson’s quarterback and receivers camp last week on the GHS campus. Wilson now plays in the NFL for the Tennessee Titans. (Photo courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Tyler Wilson football camp held last week

By Richard White

Former Greenwood High School quarterback Tyler Wilson, who played his college ball at the University of Arkansas and is now a member of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, conducted a football camp last week for nearly six dozen area youths. The camp was held July 7-9 utilizing the football facilities at Greenwood High School, where Wilson first made a name for himself as one of the state’s top QBs.

The focus of instruction for the three-day event was on quarterbacks and receivers, and featured an all-star lineup of instructors including Wilson and former Arkansas Razorback Jake Bequette, a defensive end now with the New England Patriots. Also spotted was former GHS quarterback Brooks Coatney, currently the head coach at Van Buren who happens to be Wilson’s cousin.

Another cousin taking part in the camp was former GHS quarterback Jabe Burgess, who enrolled at the University of Tulsa in January. Former GHS receiver and current Arkansas Razorback Drew Morgan also helped out with the receivers, as did a pair of receivers from the University of Tulsa.

Former Bulldog and current Arkansas Razorback Drew Morgan has some fun with a group of future Greenwood receivers at the Tyler Wilson football camp. (Photo courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Former Bulldog and current Arkansas Razorback Drew Morgan has some fun with a group of future Greenwood receivers at the Tyler Wilson football camp. (Photo courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

When asked about the number of athletes attending the camp, Wilson said, “I think we had 68, and then we had a couple more that walked in, so it was closer to 70 kids total. And that was great, because I didn’t really advertise it a whole lot or as much as I probably needed to.”

But word-of-mouth and an announcement on Twitter, picked up on the Greenwood Dog Pound website, was enough to generate a nice gathering for the three days of evening workouts. “It kind of exploded a little bit,” said Wilson of the attendance, “and I had a great time.”

Wilson also expressed a desire to make the camp an annual event. “I’d like to,” he said. “We’ll just see how it goes as I move forward with my career and what I’m doing schedule-wise. But I’d like it to be somewhere around the same time. I know it’s tough this time of year on the high school kids because they’re trying to get prepared for their own season, and a lot of the younger kids have baseball tournaments. So I might change the time on the camp if I were to do it again. But I’d like to do it again through the years on a consistent basis.”

Regarding the camp instructors, Wilson said, “Jake Bequette played defensive end for us at Arkansas and now plays for the New England Patriots, and obviously I’m with Tennessee. So there were two NFL players at the camp, and I’m not sure at Greenwood if that’s ever been done. I thought that was a big thing, and there were some more I could have gotten, but we weren’t sure of our numbers.”

Asked about his final season at Arkansas after the scandal resulting in the dismissal of Head Coach Bobby Patrino in the spring of 2012, Wilson was selective in his comments. “You always try to draw something positive from anything that goes on, but it was a tough deal and I’ve tried to move on from that and not talk about it a whole lot,” he said.

“It was an unfortunate situation and you kind of felt like you were going to [war] without all your ammo. Unfortunately we didn’t win that many games my senior year, and I’m sure that affected somewhat my status in the draft, just based on the team not being successful. I felt like many of my numbers were just as good my senior year as they were my junior year, as far as throwing the football. But unfortunately that chemistry we had my junior year didn’t exist in my senior year.”

Wilson went on to talk about his brief experience so far in professional football. “I was drafted by the [Oakland] Raiders and I was excited. Anytime you’re drafted by a place you want to have the ability to play your entire career [there]. But as awesome as that might sound, it’s extremely tough in today’s world of sports. There’s a lot of bouncing around from team to team. The coaching staffs and management are like a revolving door. Those guys are in and out. I had the ability to be in Oakland for almost a year. I think I was there for 17 games, and for the last three games of the season I went to Tennessee.”

“So I had the opportunity to be with two professional franchises last year and see the dynamics between the two locker rooms,” said Wilson. “I really like the staff we have in place at Tennessee – the culture in the locker room – and I get along well with the guys.”

“It’s also closer to home and it’s similar to here in a lot of ways. I’ve played well so far and if I continue that, things are going to be on the up-and-up there. It’s a very loose depth chart,” he said, “so I can’t tell you exactly where I stand, but I am battling for a back-up position there.”

“But the NFL is so funny. Even in a matter of a couple of months, the whole dynamics of your team can change. I saw it last year in Oakland. We brought in a rookie free agent that no one on the planet thought would be the starting quarterback, and eight weeks later the starting quarterback that everybody anticipated was cut from the team, and the rookie free agent is starting eight football games. It’s a crazy world, and I’ve just got to be prepared to do the very best job I can do at Tennessee.”

According to Wilson, NFL training camps open around the last week of July, and he will be spending his remaining free time with family and friends around Greenwood before reporting back for pre-season drills. Wilson maintains a residence in downtown Nashville and enjoys life in Middle Tennessee. “I really like the city,” he said.

While away from Nashville, Wilson has the luxury of working out in a variety of top-notch facilities, including Greenwood, Van Buren, and the University of Arkansas. Wilson’s cousin, Brooks Coatney, is the head coach at Van Buren. “I primarily work out at the high schools,” he said. “The only challenge is to find receivers of the caliber that I need to throw to. Other than that, they’ve got really good facilities and everything I need.”

 

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