East Carolina star recognized at Belhaven city council meeting
Published 8:24 am Tuesday, March 10, 2009
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
BELHAVEN — C.J. Wilson promised to return to the Boyette Civic Center when he turned pro.
That drew quite an applause from an appreciative audience, who paid tribute to him at Monday evening’s Belhaven city council meeting. Fans flocked to the center to watch the city council honor Wilson, a Belhaven native and current East Carolina football standout.
Belhaven mayor Adam O’Neal read a resolution in recognition of Wilson, then handed the 2005 Northside High School graduate a plaque in honor of the achievement.
Friends and family, including parents Amos and Doris Wilson, and his high school coach, Bing Mitchell, were among those in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
O’Neal had nothing but kind words for Wilson.
Mitchell, who was Wilson’s coach all four years with the Panthers, was excited to see Wilson get honored.
Harold Robinson, Director of High School Relations at East Carolina, praised Wilson’s work ethic on the field and in the classroom.
The 6-4, 270-pound Wilson had a solid junior campaign with the Pirates, helping lead the team to a Conference USA championship and into the Liberty Bowl. He led the Pirates with 10.5 sacks (for 61 yards in loss) and 18.5 tackles-for-loss (for 84 yards). Wilson also recorded 70 tackles, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
Wilson was named the C-USA Defensive Most Valuable Player by Sporting News Magazine. He also earned C-USA First Team honors by league coaches and by Phil Steele Magazine. Additionally, Wilson was named to the Collegefootballnews.com 2008 All C-USA First Team at defensive end.
At ECU’s annual football banquet, Wilson earned inclusion into the Victors Club, which goes to those players who meet position-specific grades and tasks each week. He also earned the Janet Overton Decal Award as the defensive lineman who collected the most helmet decals (52) throughout the course of the season.
His stellar play helped the Pirates (9-5) finish with one of their best records in school history.
Honors have already started to stream in this season as Wilson was named to the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award preliminary watch list.
Eligibility for the award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. The candidates earned a place on the preliminary watch list by earning All-American honors or by being named to their respective all-conference first team as selected by the conference’s head coaches.
Wilson and the Pirates will gear up for next season beginning with the first day of spring ball on Monday.
The talented defensive end is looking forward to a solid senior season.
The affable Wilson, who has 21.5 sacks, 35 tackles-for-loss, 21 quarterback hurries and 133.5 tackles in his career, is hoping to go high in next year’s draft. Those who attended Monday’s ceremony may get first-hand knowledge of where Wilson lands.