Nacogdoches safety Brandon Jones received an offer from Texas A&M the day before playing John Tyler.
Some players might have shied away from him — Jeremy Wilson opted to run him over. Wilson capped a dazzling 13-yard run that included some nifty jukes by plowing over the Dragons' defensive star.
Listed at 5-11, 160 pounds, Wilson may appear small, but he knows how to make a big impact.
"I just remember that (Jones) had just received a Texas A&M offer and I've been trying to get attention from colleges but it's been hard because of my height," Wilson said. "So what was going through my head was if I win this battle then maybe I can get some attention."
Wilson certainly turned heads with the powerful hit, which left Jones in a daze, though he'd later return to the game. A junior, Wilson has put up 794 yards from scrimmage for the Lions, none more electrifying than the 13-yard gain against Nacogdoches, which may have received the largest ovation from a JT crowd this season.
"My head was ringing too so I couldn't really hear the crowd," Wilson recalled. "I looked at coach (Ricklan) Holmes, he pointed at me and I knew I did a good job. I was pretty satisfied."
The Lions playmaker has a habit of making big plays, starting with an 86-yard touchdown run against Lufkin. Wilson is averaging 12.1 yards per rush and 17.7 yards per catch, both team highs.
"I'm glad I could be a tone setter," Wilson said. "I try to do that every game, try to be the first one to try to make a big play, get my team hyped up for the game. I try to go score fast every time."
Wilson saved his best performances for District 16-4A. He had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games to open league play against Corsicana and Lindale. Wilson closed district play with 222 rushing yards in the final two games against Nacogdoches and Whitehouse.
"He's a very versatile guy," Holmes said. "He's able to play running back; he's able to play wide receiver. He's not scared to go up against anybody.
"He's going to bring it to you or you're going to bring it to him, but either way it's going to be brought. He's a gutsy little kid; he's tough."
Wilson, who has garnered interest from SMU and TCU, has stepped up in the absence of starting running back Reggie Gipson, who missed the last two games but should be back for the playoffs.
"I hate that Reggie had to go down but I knew somebody had to step up, especially running," Wilson said. "I wanted to do both, … I just try to make plays in both."
For the year, Wilson has 422 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 35 rushes and 21 catches for 372 yards and three TDs receiving. He trails only Gipson in total touchdowns.
While one of the shorter players on the JT roster, Wilson has the vision and speed to be an effective runner, knowing when to burst up field for the biggest possible gain. As a receiver, Wilson has the mindset of making sure he catches every ball thrown his way.
"I think with his size and stature, a lot of people look at him and feel like he can't do some of the things that he's able to do," Holmes said. "Jeremy Wilson's fast and he's very, very strong. He may be (5-8) but he plays like a giant. He makes big plays, he makes great runs, he makes great catches."
Wilson is averaging 110 yards per district game, including 171 against No. 3 Whitehouse on Friday. He ran for 70 of those yards on JT's first play of the game; 48 came on third-and-8 in the waning minutes of the game to set up the touchdown that pulled the Lions within 55-54.
But the play that best sums up Wilson's ability is one JT fans won't soon forget, nor a certain Nacogdoches safety.
"That was just a prime example of showing heart and giving it all that you've got," Holmes said of the play. "It's not always about the size and the weight and the speed of most kids, it's about how they play and how they perform."
LIONS TALES: Tickets for the John Tyler-Legacy game at City Bank Stadium in Forney will be sold on campus to students and faculty Wednesday and Thursday. Additional ticket sales will be at the TISD athletic office (807 W. Glenwood) Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday; at T&T Lewis (903 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) during regular business hours Wednesday and Thursday and until 1 p.m. Friday; and Tyler Athletics (5201 S. Broadway) during regular business hours Wednesday and Thursday and until 1 p.m. Friday. Presale tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students. General admission tickets at the gate cost $7.