ANADARKO — Some observers notice Sheldon Wilson's eye-popping stats; the Anadarko senior ran for 3,335 yards and set state records with 57 rushing and 64 total touchdowns in 2011.
Others see Wilson's blazing speed, yet remarkable patience as he waits for holes to open up, or his elusive moves that few boast.
But Tyler Melton notices something completely different. He is most proud of how his lifelong friend has grown up during the past couple of years.
“Going through junior high, he felt like he was better than everybody else,” said Melton, Anadarko's quarterback. “He was kind of cocky. ... Grades and school didn't mean that much to him.
“But now he knows what he needs to do when the time comes. He's a great kid and he makes good choices.”
Wilson, The Oklahoman's All-State Offensive Player of the Year, didn't always know when to buckle down and take school seriously, and now he's paying the price for that.
“Freshman and sophomore year, I was a knucklehead,” Wilson admits. “I just did enough to get by with D's and C's.”
But after his sophomore year, when Wilson started getting attention from college recruiters, he began to realize just how much potential he had on the gridiron.
To capitalize on that potential, he knew he had to start making better grades.
“I just stopped playing around in class,” Wilson said. “I did my work and got all B's.
“I was on principal's honor roll that year; I liked that.”
But even with his improved attitude and academic performance, making up for those early mistakes is an uphill climb.
Anadarko coach Kent Jackson said he thinks Wilson would have offers from BYU, Kansas State, North Texas, Texas Tech and Tulsa if his academics were in order.
But as it stands, he holds no Division I offers.
Wilson is doing everything he can to get himself eligible by February's national signing day. He's continuing to take the ACT to get that score up, and, perhaps most impressively, he is going to night school to retake core classes from his “knucklehead” days and replace those bad grades with good ones.