Gators in the NFL: Wilson producing for Colts

Indianapolis strong safety Clayton Geathers (26) celebrates with cornerback Quincy Wilson (31) after Geathers made an interception during the first half against Atlanta in the Sept. 22, 2019 game in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

By Kevin Brockway, Special to the Sun

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson looked at it as a challenge, and an opportunity.

 Wilson, in his third year with the Indianapolis Colts, hadn’t played safety since his sophomore year of high school when he was asked to fill in for injured Colts safety Malik Hooker two weeks ago against the Kansas City Chiefs.

 Part of his assignment was to cover Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

 “I just got in the film room and really studied,” Wilson said.

 Wilson held Kelce to just four receptions out of 10 targets, a big factor in the Colts’ 19-13 upset of the Chiefs less than two weeks ago. That performance didn’t surprise Hooker, who said Wilson asked all the right questions about playing the position in the week leading up to the game.

“Seeing how he goes about his business now, how he prepares throughout the week, it’s definitely a huge jump as to how he was his rookie year,” Hooker said. “The guy comes in here, he prepares himself, he actually knows … in some weeks he comes in and helps the whole secondary on what he’s seeing on film, so it makes our job a lot easier.”

Wilson has always been a film junkie, a trait he picked up from his father, former University of Miami and NFL defensive back Chad Wilson. As a result, Wilson has been able to see the field more often this season in nickel and dime coverage packages.

“The coaching staff likes to give me different spots to play every week, so I mean, it’s fine,” Wilson said. “I picked it up pretty well, I’m a fast learner and I enjoy that they put the confidence in me. It gives the confidence that I can learn all of these spots and play them and be able to play wherever they want to plug me in at.”

Off the field, Wilson has learned to adjust to the slower pace and different climate in Indiana compared to his native Florida. He saw snow for the first time during his rookie year when the Colts played through a blizzard against the Buffalo Bills. Snowy days in Indiana haven’t caused too much of a hassle so far.

“Luckily, I live in a neighborhood where they come shovel it, and get it out of the driveway before in the morning, so I was all right, I don’t have to worry about that,” Wilson said. “And I have a garage so I don’t have to pick any ice off the windshield or any of that good stuff.”

Wilson said he still follows the Gators closely and his younger brother, Marco, who was bounced back from a torn ACL last season to regain his starting job at cornerback.  Wilson said he and Marco talk at least once a week, often comparing notes on how they are preparing for games.

“I’m probably more excited than he is just to watch every Saturday,” Wilson said. “So it’s been fun, racing home after the mock games to hurry up and turn on the TV to see them play. So it’s a joy every Saturday. I can’t wait to watch them play.”

As Marco went through his rehabilitation process last year, Wilson said he and his father  both helped keep his spirits up. 

“He definitely leaned on us a lot because I was the only one who was really playing last year,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to watch other people play when you are injured and you just want to be out there so much. I just kept his head in there and told him going through this injury is going to make you more mentally strong and more prepared to make you go out there and just dominate because of what you’ve been through.”

Wilson said despite last week’s loss at LSU, he thinks second-year Gators coach Dan Mullen has the Gators going in the right direction.

“The offense really surprised me last week, they put up all of those points, it was basically a shootout with LSU,” Wilson said. “They are moving in the right direction and it’s fun to watch.”

Hooker, who has roomed with Wilson on road trips and in training camps throughout his career, recalled one day when Wilson was a rookie and showed up to practice wearing two pairs of sweats and three shirts and a hoodie on a 60-degree day. He’s given him advice on buying snow tires. Hooker said Wilson is a tidy roommate.

 “Quincy is neat, he’s a pretty boy I would say, he’s got to get up, get his hair all ready, all of that stuff,” Hooker said. “He’s a pretty boy outside of football, but on the football field he’s tough, hard-nosed, smart.”