After starting all 11 games at cornerback as a true freshman and recording 34 tackles and a team-high 10 pass break-ups, the consensus is Marco Wilson had an outstanding first season at Florida.
But that opinion is not unanimous.
There is one major dissenter.
“Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by my freshman season,” he said. “I know I’ve got a lot more to do. I don’t even pay attention when everybody says I’m good. I know I’ve got a lot more to go.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do because I want to be the best. I want to be known as the best and I want to end up going on to the next level, and when I get to the next level I want to be the best there too.”
Wilson, of course, has a long way to go to get where he wants to be. But he’s off to a promising start based on his overall performance last season.
He never looked like, or played like, a true freshman at one of the most difficult and demanding positions in football.
But Wilson isn’t satisfied. He’s driven to do better, always better. And that’s a big part of his game and who he is as an athlete.
“I just think I could have made more plays (last season),” he said. “Even if I go out this season and get 10 picks, I still won’t be satisfied. I still need more. I need to get 11, I need to get 12, I need to get more.
“I just know people are always going to expect you do more. I expect myself to do more because you do something good and one thing goes wrong, they look at the wrong. So you’ve always got to be throwing good on yourself.”
Wilson has learned a lot about succeeding at this level — and reaching the next level, the NFL — from his older brother Quincy, a second-round NFL draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts, who came out after his junior season a year ago.
In terms of development, Marco may be ahead of Quincy’s pace. Marco started 11 games his true freshman season, while Quincy started only two in his.
The brothers look alike and seem to have similar playing styles. But Marco has already grown tired of being compared to his brother.
“I don’t like it,” he said. “Because I’m not my brother. I’m my own person. I play like how I play. He’s a great corner, I’m a great corner too, but we’re not the same.”
Marco does listen to his older brother.
“Always, after every game,” he said. “He’s always watching. Because he’s been in the same shoes as me so he knows how it is. He’s just always just making sure I’m on top of my stuff.”
Quincy had his breakout season at Florida in his sophomore year, playing in all 14 games, starting nine, and recording 26 tackles and two interceptions.
Some might argue Marco has already had his breakout season. Whether it was or not in 2017, he plans to build on his strong start at Florida with an even better sophomore season.
He’s put himself in a position to do so. He’s gained weight and strength in the offseason and he’s immersed himself in a new defensive playbook.
“I’ve grown like 10 pounds,” Wilson said. “Last year I played the whole season at like 178 and now I’m 188. So, I’m really happy about that. I didn’t like the weight I was playing at.
“And I feel smarter. As you get older, you start focusing on other things. I know that playing this game is not always about being physical. When you get to the next level, dudes that are in the league for 10, 11 years, it’s about their mind and being smart.
“There are a lot of dudes that are athletic and they leave the league early because they weren’t smart enough to do what’s right on the field.”