Pro scouts don't
really care how it happened that a linebacker from Brooklyn came to enroll at
the University of Louisville instead of at Penn State or some other bastion of
Eastern football. All they're concerned about is Otis Wilson's size, strength
and recklessness. The 6'3", 225-pound Wilson hits so hard that his coach,
Vince Gibson, says, "I can tell just by the sound when Otis makes a
tackle." So far, because Louisville doesn't play on national TV or in a
major conference, the sound is pretty much that of silence as far as the public
is concerned. But Otis is coming through loud and clear to the pro scouts.
Almost all 28 NFL franchises and a couple of Canadian teams have sent
representatives to catch Wilson in action.
me to know that these scouts recognize my talent," he says, "but it
tends to put pressure on me in practice. I'm afraid that if I loaf even a
little bit, they might feel I don't have the right attitude. That makes
practice more like games."
Even as Wilson
spoke, a scout from the St. Louis Cardinals and another from the Toronto
Argonauts were in the hall outside Gibson's office waiting for practice to
start. They had just spent a couple of hours watching films of Wilson's
performances against Virginia Tech, Miami of Florida and Florida State. The
Cardinals' man smiled when asked about Wilson's pro potential.
not that I've never missed one, but I don't think there's a better linebacker
in the country," he said.
The scout from
Toronto nodded. "This kid can play anyplace," he said. "He'd be
super in Canada with his speed and agility on our wide field."
course, is where Ohio State Linebacker Tom Cousineau decided to play after
being the NFL's No. 1 draft pick last spring.
"I'm not sure
Wilson doesn't move better than Cousineau," the Cardinals' scout said.
faster," said the man from Toronto.
As might be
expected, Wilson dreams of pro ball as much as the pros dream of signing him.
He was delighted when Gil Brandt, the superscout of the Dallas Cowboys, named
him the No. 1 college linebacker in a recent national TV interview.
That kind of
recognition is important to Wilson, perhaps because he hasn't gotten much of it
at Louisville. Or perhaps because he grew up in a slum, the Ocean
Hill- Brownsville section of Brooklyn, where football doesn't attract that much