ATHENS Many questioned Isaiah Wilson's decision to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft with two years of eligibility remaining.
But interviews with Wilson at the NFL combine, and more recently on ESPN, reveal a young man who places a high value on his family.
Wilson explained to DawgNation at the combine in Indianapolis last month his decision to skip Georgia's 26-14 bowl win over Baylor.
"I took off from the bowl season to spend time with my family," Wilson said. "I'm from New York. My family stayed in New York when I went to Georgia, and I spent probably a total of eight days with them in a three-year period.
"I just wanted to get home and spend a little time with my mom, and my dad, and my brother, before I embarked on this journey."
The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson has been projected to be selected between the second and fourth round of the NFL draft.
But wherever he gets selected, he told ESPN host Laura Rutledge it will be a tearful moment for his mother when his name gets called.
As @AdamSchefter has reported, the NFL Draft will look a lot different this year but the emotions for families in the middle of it will be the same. @_LayZay_ illustrates that beautifully here: pic.twitter.com/Mg8OuRqYS7
Laura Rutledge (@LauraRutledge) March 29, 2020
"I think she's going to be speechless, genuinely," Wilson said. "I don't think she's going to have a lot of words. She may say, I'm proud of you' after about 10 minutes of crying. But I think initially she's going to cry for a long, long time."
There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes, said Wilson, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Poly Prep
"In youth leagues I had to pay for membership to play and all that good stuff," Wilson said. "High school, I went to a prestigious private high school that was 40k a year in tuition. It was more than some colleges out there, and she made it work.
"I wasn't on full athletic scholarship, because it was just so much, and she had to make ends meet.
"She had to sacrifice weekends where she was supposed to be resting to take me to practice or take me to a game," Wilson said.
It didn't take long for the sacrifices to pay off once Wilson was at Georgia.
Wilson started and earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors in 2018 after redshirting the 2017 campaign.
Last season, Wilson overcame an ankle injury to help anchor the offensive line.
NFL.com projects Wilson as a player who will be a starter in the next two seasons at football's highest level, even though he needs more work on his technique.
"I would say I'm big, strong, fast and athletic," Wilson said last month in Indianapolis. "My football I.Q. is pretty good, so the playbook won't be a problem.
"I come from a Pro Style system. It was a Pro Style Spread (at UGA), which is making its way into the NFL."
But more than anything, Wilson likes sharing that he comes from a father and mother that loves and supports him.
"That's 12 years of your weekends just gone, so the time she's put in, and financial support she's put in, emotional support of when things got tough to keep my head up and help me push through certain adversity, she's done a ton, and so has my dad," Wilson said.
"They've both broke their backs to help me to get into this position."
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