Bear Wilson Shines on the Gridiron


Oct 11, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver De

De’Runnya Wilson wasn’t supposed to be a great football player. Wilson was a star on the basketball court, and for most of his high school career, everything was pointing towards a great career in basketball. But not every story goes the way you think it would.

De’Runnya Wilson is commonly referred to by his nickname “Bear”. He was given the name by his high school coach who said Wilson would play any sport he could and was a “bear of a load”. And for those who have seen him play for the Bulldogs, the name certainly fits. Interestingly, Wilson stopped playing football after his freshman year in high school, and didn’t return to the sport until his senior year.

When his freshman year of high school was over, Wilson decided to focus primarily on basketball. It seemed like it was the right decision. Wilson was one of the best power forwards in the state of Alabama for Wenonah High School. Wilson was named the Mr. Basketball of Alabama his senior season and led the Dragons to three straight appearances in the State Championship game in 2012.

But his decision to return to the football field as a senior has changed his future drastically. In his lone varsity season in football, Bear Wilson became one of the top receivers in the state of Alabama. He was rated as just a 3 star prospect, but there were a number of teams that believed the tall, athletic receiver had tons of potential. Mississippi State wasn’t the only SEC school to offer the rising star. Auburn and Tennessee came calling as well. He committed to the Bulldogs in January of 2013 and hasn’t looked back since.

Wilson’s freshman year got off to a slow start. He appeared in the season opener as a true freshman. Mullen decided to go ahead and use Wilson and not redshirt Bear in the hopes that he could help the receiving corps with some big play capability. He would scuffle along with a few catches every now and then in 2013 until the LSU game. His season best of 80 yards came in that game, the most prolific of which was a beautiful 59 yard strike from Tyler Russell. He would then have a stellar game in a losing effort against Texas A&M. Arguably his best performance might have been when he caught 4 passes against Ole Miss in the 2013 Egg Bowl, three of which were after Dak Prescott entered the game and helped keep the game tying drive alive.

2014 saw Bear Wilson become a rising star in the college football world. Many have compared Wilson to Calvin Johnson or Alshon Jeffrey. He led the team in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns. Almost all scouts agree: Wilson’s future is in football.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t see Wilson play basketball at all. He did play sparingly for Rick Ray’s squad in 2013-14. There has been only minimal talk of him doing the same this season. The basketball team could certainly use all the help it can get, but to risk a promising future in football would be risky.

If you’re looking for a player to break out that won’t get a ton of publicity, it wouldn’t hurt to consider Bear Wilson. With Jameon Lewis exhausting his eligibility this season, Wilson will be the focal point of the passing game in the 2015 season. He is a matchup nightmare for almost every defensive back that tries to cover him. Seeing what we saw in 2014 from Prescott and Wilson, the future is bright for Mississippi State in the passing game in 2015.