Wilson named to C-USA First Team

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — C.J. Wilson is beginning to earn a sack-full of honors.
It seems fitting as East Carolina’s sack-master has been enjoying a stellar career. The 6-4, 271-pound junior defensive end was named to the Conference USA First-Team at defensive end.
Wilson, who has started 22 consecutive games and was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 15, has put up some big-time numbers for the Pirates this season. He leads the team with 10.5 sacks (for 61 yards in loss) and 18.5 tackles-for-loss (for 84 yards). Wilson, who wears No. 95, also has 64 tackles, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
Wilson can set a new single-season record with a solid game against Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2. If he records three tackles-for-loss, Wilson will surpass Chris Moore (21 tackles-for-loss in 2004) in that category.
Wilson, who was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team two years ago and earned C-USA Second Team honors last year, has flirted with the sack record as well. Roderick Coleman set the single-season record with 15 sacks in 1997.
Coleman holds the career-sack record with 39 (1995-98), while Moore owns the career tackles-for-loss mark with 61 (2002-05).
Wilson, a former standout at Northside High School, has 35 tackles-for-loss and 21.5 sacks in his career. He also has 127.5 tackles and 21 quarterback hurries in his career.
A key aspect to Wilson’s success this season has been his health. Unlike several of his teammates who went down with serious injuries, the junior avoided being of the casualties.
Wilson and his Pirates are getting some rest after winning the C-USA championship, a 27-24 win over Tulsa. After a long season, Wilson said it’s nice to get a break from the field.
Wilson said winning that conference championship was a blessing.
Wilson and the Pirates return to the field Friday in preparation for the Liberty Bowl. ECU (9-4) will battle the Kentucky Wildcats (6-6) in Memphis.
Wilson, who said his family will make the trip to Memphis to watch him in the bowl game, is excited to play in his third straight bowl. He’s planning to make it four in a row next year, and hopes Skip Holtz will be there to guide the Pirates.
Holtz has been linked to the Syracuse head coaching position.
Other Pirates honored
Wilson was one of two Pirates named to the C-USA First Team.
Junior defensive back Van Eskridge was named to the C-USA First Team at defensive back.
Second Team honors went to senior linebacker Pierre Bell and junior offensive lineman Sean Allen.
The six ECU players who received honorable mention were senior tight end Davon Drew, sophomore defensive lineman Linval Joseph, junior defensive lineman Jay Ross, senior defensive lineman Zack Slate, junior linebacker Nick Johnson and senior long snapper Wilson Raynor.
Defensive back Emanuel Davis was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team.