It's difficult to find an NFL Draft prospect any more connected to the Packers organization than Georgia State wide receiver Albert Wilson, having played under three former Packers assistant coaches during his college career.
It began when Wilson joined the Atlanta university as a freshman under then head coach Bill Curry, the starting center on the Packers' Super Bowl I team under Vince Lombardi and later an assistant coach in the late seventies.
"Coach Curry used a quote saying 'Football is life marked off at 100 yards,' and I feel like everything you go through on the football field, at some point in your life, you'll go through it," said Wilson at the NFL Combine.
When Curry retired from a long career in coaching following the 2012 season, the Georgia State program took a new direction under Trent Miles, who was an offensive quality control assistant for the Packers in 2000 on the Mike Sherman coaching staff, where he remained for one year before moving onto Stanford.
For Georgia State's first year moving up to the FBS level of Division I football and joining the Sun Belt conference this past season, Miles hired Jeff Jagodzinski as his offensive coordinator.
Jagodzinski was a tight ends coach in Green Bay with Miles during the Sherman era and later Mike McCarthy's first offensive coordinator before his fall from grace.
After working his way up to the head coaching ranks at Boston College, Jagodzinski went from NFL assistant in 2009 to head coach in the United Football League in 2010 to bottoming out as as a volunteer assistant at Ave Maria University that competes at the NAIA level in 2012.
But according to Wilson, Coach Jags still has a knack as an offensive guru, helping him to become a multi-threat weapon at Georgia State.
"(Jagodzinski) knows the game, like he lives football," said Wilson. "He knew how to get the ball in my hands as quick as possible. He knew the schemes; he knew exactly what the defense was going to do. So when we came into the game prepared, we knew exactly what we had in front of us."
Under the tutelage of Miles and Jagodzinski, Wilson averaged 190.2 all-purpose yards per game, which would have been the second-highest in all of FBS had Georgia State been eligible for NCAA rankings due to reclassification.
At 5' 9" and 202 lbs., Wilson became a dangerous slot receiver for the Panthers, leading the Sun Belt with 1,177 receiving yards on 77 receptions and scoring eight touchdowns through the air on his way to being named a first-team all-conference selection. In four years, Wilson averaged an impressive 18.2 yards per catch on 175 career catches.
Speaking of his best qualities, Wilson said, "My speed and my ability to catch the ball, the run after the catch. I can run routes like any receiver, and I'm built like a running back, so it's hard to tackle me after the catch."
Wilson is more than just a receiver, however, becoming a menacing return specialist over the course of his college career, esentially owning both punt and kick return duties at Georgia State from his freshman to senior year. He averaged 9.2 yards on 41 career punt returns and 24.6 yards on 95 kick returns.
All told, Wilson had 6,235 career all-purpose yards, which would rank in the Top 35 in FBS history if Georgia State qualified.
After running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the Combine, Wilson is being looked at as a potential late-round draft choice as a dual receiver and return specialist.
And perhaps someday if Wilson happens to be signed by the Packers, he'll be able to rub in his highlight reel 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Alabama in 2010 to Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy.
Lacy, see, had just scored on a three-yard touchdown plunge to make the score 42-0 in the second quarter. Wilson then gave the overmatched Panthers their only score of the day.
"I haven't watched it in a while," said Wilson, "but when it first happened, I used to watch it all the time."
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Georgia State wide receiver Albert Wilson by Brian Carriveau.
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