BUFORD, GA. -- "Price Wilson has just killed it in the drills," an Elite 11 QB Camp coach said to me early Friday afternoon in Atlanta.
"Who?" I asked, fumbling through the four-page roster in extremely windy conditions on the field; pages flapping everywhere in the wind. It surprised me. I can rattle off, from memory, the hometown, high school, height, weight and top offers for most of the top kids at the events I cover. On Wilson, I had nothing.
I finally found him, on page four. Marietta (Ga.) Walton High School. I know the school, but had never heard of the player.
This is what makes being a recruiting analyst fun. Twenty recruits in attendance already claimed offers from BCS schools. I wasn't expecting a 6'1 (perhaps generously listed), 218-pound QB who didn't even start for his team last year to create such chatter. But he did.
Favorite QB today: Price Wilson, who's about my height and got a "you ain't even supposed to be here" before killing finalist 2-minute drill— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) April 12, 2013
This sort of thing happens every year, and it's unpredictable. For all the advanced scouting done of freshmen and sophomores, there is still a good number, who for whatever reason, go undiscovered until later in the process.
The reason Wilson was an unknown? Playing time.
Wilson played in only a few games in 2012, when Walton's starter went down with injury. That starter? Parker McLeod, who signed with Alabama in February.
In the latter portion of the camp, the players are separated into four groups. They might not realize it, but Group 1 is filled, almost exclusively, with players who will have multiple BCS offers. Group 2 has a few kids who will sign with BCS schools, and the rest will sign with lower-level FBS schools. Wilson's early portion of the camp placed him in Group 1. His performance while in Group 1 kept him there.
In the final, five quarterbacks are placed in a competition against each other in a timed event that asks them to manage the clock, avoid pressure, and hit moving targets, throwing over defenders. Wilson, who was without any major college offers, was chosen as one of the five. And he almost won it.
"Today went well," Wilson said. "I thought I could've done better, but I loved the coaching staff, interacting with them and getting positive tips that I'll carry on to my season next year."
Wilson, who wasn't even invited by the Elite 11 staff (he emailed days before, asking to come), really enjoyed the experience.
"They interact a lot more with the players a lot more, and it is much more organized," Price said, referencing other QB camps he's been to.
The staff had one message for him to take home and practice.
"Footwork. Footwork is the key. If I have good footwork, it can do me very well," Wilson said.
As of Friday evening, Wilson had two FBS offers.
"I have two offers, from Marshall and Louisiana Tech," Wilson said. He also noted that he spent much of his life in West Virginia, and is familiar with the Marshall program.
And, because of his low profile before Friday, Wilson had not yet received much interest from any of the big schools.
"No, not yet. I'm still trying to get my name out there and make sure everybody knows who I am," Wilson said when asked if other schools had shown interest in him.
That will soon change, provided he plays this fall like he did Friday.
National Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliott's take: Absent a late growth spurt, Wilson isn't destined for five-star status at 6'1. He's a pocket passer who could probably stand to lean out a bit and increase his mobility. He'll fit best in a spread system that provides him with natural passing windows, as he may have some trouble seeing over some linemen. But Wilson is a very natural thrower of the football. It zips off his hand with tight spin, and he showed the ability to vary his speeds and use the appropriate amount of touch (because, I suspect, his hands are larger than the typical 6'0 recruit).