New York Giants running back, Saquon Barkley has the distinction of setting a rookie record. Two seasons ago, the NFL Rookie of the Year notched 1,307 yards, the most rushing yards by a rookie. Additionally, the former Penn State Nittany Lion has the distinction of setting a rookie record for the most touchdowns in a season with 15.
Appearing on today’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, former New York Giants running back, David Wilson sang Barkley’s praises. “When I watch him play, it looks like he’s having a lot of fun and he looks like he knows what he’s doing and he takes the game serious,” he said.
“And you know, he’s entertaining. He’s strong and powerful and versatile, so I enjoy watching him. He’s exciting.
“He’s versatile, so to really compare him to somebody I think I see a lot of the good things of a lot of the past players in him.”
Wilson was the Giants’ first round pick, 32nd overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the New York Giants out out of Virginia Tech. An All-ACC First teamer and ACC Player of the Year in 2011, his collegiate breakout year, Wilson set a Hokies school record with 1,709 rushing yards on 290 carries and was named the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Additionally, Wilson also holds Hokie records for the most 100-plus yeard performances. For those keeping score at home: Wilson had 10.
His dominance in a Giants uniform was felt from the start.
In 2012, Wilson set the New York Giants team record for all-purpose yards in a single game. The Virginia native accumulated 327 all-purpose yards in a 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints. In that game, he returned four kickoffs for 227 yards; which included a 97-yard return for a touchdown.
In his rookie season, Wilson became the first player in NFL history with 200 kick return yards and 100 rushing yards, and the second player since 1970 with a kick return touchdown and two rushing touchdowns, in the same game.
Wilson was forced to retire from football after only two NFL seasons because of a career-ending neck injury.
He is currently producing music and while on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Wilson noted that his first album could be released in September. Wilson remembers his Giants days fondly.
“A lot of love,” Wilson told Scoop B Radio.
“I came into the NFL being a first round out of Virginia Tech, all these high expectations for me and I’m like I’m ready and willing because this was what I was working for since I was eight years old. So I get out there on the field and every Sunday I was trying to give everything that I had. Unfortunately, like you mentioned earlier, my career was cut short due to the injury but I was there for a year and a half. My second year I became a starter of the team as the Giants running back, I was All-Pro as a rookie, I achieved records and franchise records and was the first NFL player to complete and do certain things and man, I appreciate every bit of it. So I just look at it as an opportunity that I was to actually achieve something that I set out and worked for that long period of time and wasn’t any time wasted.”
While on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I asked David Wilson if Eli Manning was a first Ballot Hall of Famer. He had nothing but good things to say. “He’s a legend in my eyes,” he said.
“That’s the only quarterback that I ever had and I’m glad that I played with a legend. So I would have to agree with you. Yeah.”
Wilson also speaks fondly of currents Giants QB Daniel Jones. “I remember getting drafted to the Giants,” he said.
“And how happy I was and how excited I was and Daniel Jones being a part of the Big Blue, being a part of that first rate club when you come in; that class A organization, I know he was excited. And when he goes out and see him on the field, you see the same thing. He’s enjoying the game, he’s a student of the game and he wants to win.”
He discussed Odell Beckham‘s first year with the Cleveland Browns. “I really didn’t keep up with his stats,” he said.
“But Odell is an exciting player.”
He spoke fondly of Beckham’s good habits during training camp when the two were teammates. “When I was there, I just noticed his focus and I noticed when I was on the field with him catching kickoff returns,” he said.
“I was the kickoff returner and first I was teaching him; showing the rookie how to do it, make sure he doesn’t drop any balls and Odell was just standing there kind of like, listening and then the ball was kicked to him, and I’m watching him and I’m like, “Whatever you’re telling him to do, he’s not taking his steps like, he’s not even watching the ball.” – he just reached back and grabbed it with one hand on the kickoff. He grabbed the kickoff like that. So when I saw that I was like, “I know I’m not the only one that saw that!..” But somebody that played with him on LSU who was also a teammate on the Giants he was just like, “Man, he do that all the time. He did that at LSU ALL the time!” So, I was amazed by it though.”
Wilson also discussed his thoughts on the NFC East and where he sees the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles if the NFL season resumes. “Man, I don’t know nothing about what the Eagles are doing,” he joked. “But the Giants you know, like I said they got a power offense and they look like they excited to play some football.
Running backs study running backs. Barry Sanders was Wilson’s muse.
“It’s people that can remind you of Barry,” David Wilson tells Scoop B Radio.
“But as far as there’s going to be another Barry, no. There will be NOBODY else like that. But one thing I can say about Barry Sanders that I really admired; that I used to watch and idolize about his game was…I was number #20 in high school. So I used to watch running backs that used to wear number #20. I felt their connection like, ‘That’s me. That’s how I’m gonna be.’ Right? Barry Sanders was one of the running backs that I’d seen do that and wear number #20 and what I noticed about his game that I tried to emulate in my game was that it was rare to see one man tackle him and he ran real low to the ground and had a low center of gravity and a lot of balance. So when I would see him do that, I would always try to make sure that I don’t get tackled by just one person, that I’m always fighting for that extra. Because that’s what all it’s about – getting that extra. You keep your legs moving; you can make some things happen.”
Wilson shared why Sanders is so iconic in the same Michael Jordan was to basketball. “I mean, you gotta look at it like Barry Sanders and Bo Jackson, and Michael Jordan and Odell Beckham,” he said.
“These are players that kind of like, show you something that you haven’t seen before. So, they kind of raised the bar. Odell Beckham for example when he reached back with one hand and caught the pass and since then you see a lot of one-handed catches. Like a lot of great catches because he raised that bar to show people that I can catch that pass too.”