Marquess Wilson broke the single-season and career-record marks for yardage at Washington State University. Just think what he could have done if he hadn't quit during his junior season.
Still, Wilson is an NFL draft hopeful and he was among 333 names invited to the biggest pre-draft event in football: The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, to be held from Feb. 20-26. It's Wilson's first real opportunity to clear his name with professional scouts, coaches, and general managers that might have serious questions about his commitment after the junior quit the Washington State football program with three games left in the season. Despite the fact that Wilson was coming off of back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard seasons for one of the worst programs in college football and would be playing under the Air Raid offense of Mike Leach, things never clicked for Marquess in the coaching staff. While it seemed like on paper he could have one of the greatest seasons and careers in Pac-12 history, instead he underwhelmed and finished with 52 catches for 813 yards in nine games.
That's when news came out that Wilson was quitting the football program and claimed "abuse" by the coaching staff. Wilson recanted those statements, but still has much work to do to turnaround the damage done from what looks like outsiders to possibly just be a kid who quit on his team and did not feel like putting in the work and effort demanded by a coaching staff with a much harsher reputation towards tough practices than former coach Paul Wulff.
Now Wilson goes into the Combine with the first real opportunity for experts to peg where he could be drafted in April. While he put up the statistics of a solid first-round pick, his attitude could literally drop him anywhere from day two to undrafted, depending on how much his athleticism and interviews draw rave reviews from the professionals.
One in-state product that will be joining him is rival University of Washington Husky Desmond Trufant. Ranked as the second-best cornerback in the class by NFL Draft Scout, Trufant will join brothers Marcus and Isaiah as NFL players, an unbelievable accomplishment for any family, but a great story for the local community. While Marcus's future remains in doubt at age 32, the drafting of Desmond will continue a run of the Tacoma family's run in the NFL, when Marcus (Washington State) was drafted by the Seahawks with the 11th overall pick in 2003.
Isaiah (Eastern Washington) was undrafted buy has spent the last three years on the New York Jets.
Desmond is a speculative first-round pick, but that could be a sure thing if he has a great showing in Indianapolis. He could even challenge brother Marcus as the highest-selected Trufant ever taken in the NFL, but he's going to have to have a great couple of pre-draft months in order to get there. Maybe even the Seahawks continue their run of Trufant's.
Wide receiver Brandon Kaufman of Eastern Washington also received an invite to Indy.