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Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson
Sooner defensive back looking to improve going into 2013 season

In the span of two late-season games, Oklahoma’s Julian Wilson experienced the biggest high and the lowest low of his brief collegiate career. In the process, the sophomore defensive back did not let the positive experience go to his head or the negative one crush his spirit.

Instead, Wilson tucked both moments into his memory bank and promised to work harder, study more and put all of his experiences to use in order to be the best player he can be in 2013.

“Playing defensive back, especially in the Big 12, you have to have a really short memory,” said Wilson, who saw action in all 13 games for the Sooners this season. “You are going to make some big plays but teams are also going to make some plays on you, so a lot of times it’s all about how you respond and stay mentally tough.

“If a quarterback or offensive coordinator sees that you’re discouraged, he’s going to call a play that comes right back at you the next snap.”

In the regular-season finale against Texas Christian, with a share of the Big 12 title hanging in the balance, the Horned Frogs drove deep into OU territory in the closing seconds. On fourth down, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin fired a pass intended for Josh Boyce in the left front corner of the end zone that Wilson and teammate Tony Jefferson simultaneously batted away to preserve a 24-17 OU victory.

“That was pretty special because it helped get us a piece of the Big 12 championship,” said Wilson. “We knew they had to throw for the end zone and I just tried to put myself in a position to make a play. I knew I had backside help from Tony and fortunately it worked out the way we wanted it to.”

Wilson put himself in a good position to earn playing time by rededicating himself during the offseason leading up to the 2012 season. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound cornerback redshirted as a true freshman and then saw action mostly on special teams in 2011.

The Oklahoma City native was determined to find a way to make a bigger impact heading into his sophomore season.

“Honestly, I changed my whole mindset after my freshman year. I knew I needed to do something different to get into the lineup,” said Wilson. “Basically, I worked harder in the offseason and really focused on my technique and perfecting my craft. As a defensive back, you are always learning and trying to improve.

“All of that stuff helped give me the edge I was looking for.”

While he did not actually start playing football until his freshman year in high school, Wilson has always had a good understanding of the game. His father, Darrell McCowan, played football at Oklahoma State in the early 1990s, so he grew up around it.

As a two-way starter for Southmoore, the speedy Wilson earned prep All-America honors. Many expected him to follow in his father’s footsteps and end up in Stillwater, but the DB/receiver had other ideas.

“My dad has always been an inspiration for me, but when it came to choosing a place to play, I really wanted to go and make my own way somewhere,” said Wilson. “OU has a great program and it was close so my family can come watch me play. It was a pretty easy choice.”

Wilson has been aided by the fact that he rooms with OU’s best defensive back, Aaron Colvin, who has been a good influence on his younger teammate. In fact, Wilson credits Colvin for getting him interested in studying film more diligently.

“He’s a great player and a guy everyone on the team respects. I’ve watched him grow and develop the last three years and it’s helped me become a better player,” said Wilson.

Unfortunately for Wilson and company, the 2012 season did not end like they had hoped. The Sooners ran into a buzzsaw known as Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at the Cotton Bowl, and left with a 41-13 loss in tow.

“Our performance against A&M left me with a bad taste in my mouth. No one wants to finish the season like we did that night,” said Wilson. “We know we have work to do and some holes to fill, and I feel we’ll go into the offseason with a chip on our shoulder, put in the work we need in order to prove we can be a good defense.”

Wilson is very in tune with the tradition and expectations that are part of OU football.

“To go 10-3 is good for some teams, but we feel we are better than that at OU. Our expectations are higher,” added Wilson. “We want to contend for a national championship every season and that will be our goal this offseason — working to put ourselves in a position to compete at the highest level.”

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the Bowl Review issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)