As expected, Virginia Tech will have to find a new focal point for their 2012 ground game thanks to an early departure for the NFL.
At a press conference Friday morning, running back David Wilson announced he is foregoing his remaining eligibility with the Hokies in order to make himself available for the April draft. Wilson said he was given a second-round grade by the NFL’s draft advisory committee, which obviously played a role in the decision-making process.
“This is something I really wanted to do,” Wilson said. “It’s been my goal since I was eight and a dream of mine…I couldn’t pass it up.”
Wilson is the second Hokie to declare for early entry into the draft; Wednesday, star cornerback Jayron Hosley announced his decision to leave early.
In 2011, Wilson’s 1,709 yards led all ACC backs and is fourth in the country at the moment. For his efforts, Wilson was a unanimous first-team All-ACC pick and was named the conference’s Offensive and Overall Player of the Year.
With Wilson’s departure, five of the top 12 rushers in the country — San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman (No. 3 in total rushing yards), Utah State’s Robert Turbin (No. 10), Washington’s Chris Polk (No. 11) and Temple’s Bernard Pierce (No. 12) being the others — have already announced they are leaving school early. Two other draft-eligible RBs — Oregon’s LaMichael James (No. 2) and Alabama’s Trent Richardson (No. 6, with the title game remaining) — are expected to follow suit.
Two seniors in that group as well, it likely means that just three of the top dozen rushers in 2011 will be on a collegiate field when the 2012 season kicks off.