West Greene concentrated on winning season
If you listen to West Greene football coach Scott Orndoff talk about senior A.J. Wilson, you'll probably end up feeling tired.
Not only will Wilson enter his fourth year as the starting quarterback for the Pioneers, but he also will get the nod at linebacker after three seasons as a starting cornerback. As if that's not enough, he will again assume the duties as the team's kicker, kick returner and punter (he was an All-Tri County South selection in 2003).
For good measure, he has a summer job working for an excavating company searching for gas wells.
Wilson not only will shoulder a playing load for West Greene, but he will offer leadership to a group of 15 seniors, 13 of whom return as starters for the team.
"A.J. has matured a lot over his four years in our program," Orndoff said. "He is ready to take over as a leader."
Wilson has undergone physical growth heading into his senior season, as well. Standing at 5-foot-11, he added almost 25 pounds during the offseason, bulking up to a solid 175 pounds. A member of the school's wrestling team that advanced to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals, Wilson also ran track this spring to help with his speed after two successful seasons on the baseball team.
"I knew I had to improve my strength and quickness in the offseason, and I feel like I accomplished that," Wilson said.
The hard work is paying off as Wilson is beginning to attract attention from college coaches. His solid performance at scouting combines, including Metro Index, added to his versatility and experience make him an attractive prospect at the college level.
"Although he is a talented offensive player, A.J. will probably end up playing defense in college," Orndoff said.
The fourth-year coach concedes that Wilson is not only the team's best passer, but also its best runner. He also lists the senior as the team's hardest hitter on defense, a quality that initiated his move from cornerback to linebacker and makes him a candidate for defense at the collegiate level.
Wilson also benefits by coming from a family of successful football players. His father, Arnold, was a starting running back at West Greene, and his older brother, Rodney, finished his career with the Pioneers as the second-leading rusher in WPIAL history with 6,304 yards, leading his team to the WPIAL Class A finals in his senior year. Rodney played four seasons at Slippery Rock University.
Although Wilson acknowledges his personal goals and a desire to equal the success of his father and brother, he said his real focus entering his senior season is with the team.
"I am aware of their success as individuals, but try to embed their team attitude to our current players," Wilson said.
West Greene will begin its quest for its first winning season since 2002 Friday against Waynesburg in a nonconference matchup.