NORMAN — Corey Wilson has endured a variety of emotions since the February 2009 car accident that left him paralyzed.
But Tuesday, when the former Sooners receiver was honored with an Athletics Council Achievement Award at Oklahoma's annual Max Weitzenhoffer Scholar Athlete Breakfast, his outlook wasn't so complicated.
Wilson just felt blessed.
“This came from the people that have helped me out so much since the accident, people that I have always seen as role models and mentors,” Wilson said. “For them to vote me for this award means a lot.
“It motivates me to push and continue to work hard in the future.”
Wilson and his brother, former OU standout receiver Travis Wilson, are just getting started on that front.
The brothers will both graduate next month — Travis Wilson came back to finish his degree now that his NFL career is finished — and are starting a nonprofit organization, “GOG,” which stands for “Good or Great,” to help children reach their potential.
And they'll draw on the strength they've built over the past three years in that effort.
“We want to mentor kids, and not only on the football field,” said Travis Wilson. “We want them to know life is bigger than football.
“Whatever you become, you should want to be great, no matter how small the job is. That's the message we want to get out.”
Corey Wilson said the nonprofit will focus on camps, motivation speaking and life coaching. They plan to start in Oklahoma, but hope the project will go nationwide.
“We just want to give back,” Corey Wilson said. “Growing up, we had a lot of opportunities, and we'd love the opportunity to give back.”
Athletic Council Achievement Awards are given to “student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.”
Also receiving it were women's basketball player Jelena Cerina, gymnast Natasha Kelley and tennis player Peta Maree Lancaster.
For Corey Wilson, his athletic participation was of a different sort after his accident. He became a motivator and virtual assistant coach to the Sooners' receivers.
He sat in on meetings, watched film and encouraged his teammates.
“I was an extra set of eyes for coach (Jay) Norvell,” Corey Wilson said. “I just encouraged those guys, especially the young guys. As a young guy, I wasn't always as focused as I should have been.”
After the accident, Corey Wilson said he grew up and learned a lot about himself.
“I grew up as Corey Wilson the football player, and now it feels good to just be Corey Wilson,” he said. “The future is really looking bright.”
MAX WEITZENHOFFER SCHOLAR ATHLETE WINNERS