With the No. 1 jersey, Cedrick Wilson established himself as one heck of a No. 2 wide receiver last fall.
Now, there’s no doubt No. 1 will be No. 1.
The 6-foot-3, 188-pound senior has continued to wow in fall camp, showing he’s fully capable of being Boise State’s go-to guy.
“Ced’s getting to that point where he’s seeing what the defense is doing more than just his assignment, and that’s the next step for him,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “I think he’s confident in what he’s asked to do, and now it’s attacking, and truly attacking the defnesive side and knowing a little bit more of what they’re doing to try to attack him.”
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Last season as a junior, Wilson’s first after transferring from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, he led the Broncos with 11 touchdown receptions, while finishing behind Thomas Sperbeck with 56 receptions for 1,129 yards.
Since he only has one final season of which to take advantage, Wilson said he’s taking it as what he hopes might also inspire younger players.
“All this comes to an end, so you better have fun while you’re doing it and work harder than anybody else if you want to succeed and embarrass somebody,” Wilson said.
With his role likely to be expanded even more on the field, there’s been an importance into what that means off it, too. Wilson knows a lot is expected of him and is accepting all that comes with it.
“It’s definitely a weight on your shoulders, but Harsin was telling us in a meeting the other day that leaders have to carry a certain weight,” Wilson said.
For Wilson, that weight doesn’t just mean his work at receiver. He also proved to be a standout punt returner after taking on the role in October, finishing with a 13.2-yard average on 10 returns. Special teams coordinator Kent Riddle said there is no hesitance to continue to use Wilson there despite the fact he will be the likely top receiver.
“Until there’s someone better than him, we’re not going to take out our best option to make a big play because we’re worried he’ll run too much,” Riddle said. “He’s reliable in fielding the ball, all those things ... he’s our best option.”
On the senior’s part, there’s no question he’s all in for being a playmaker on offense and special teams.
“I wish I could try to block the punt and return it at the same time,” Wilson said, adding that he could try field goal block, too. “... but if they fake it, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
In his debut season with the Broncos, Wilson was No. 8 in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 20.2 yards per catch. He’s trying to expand his pass-catching repertoire this fall. Accoring to Pro Football Focus, he dropped five of 61 catchable passes, a rate that was 55th of 126 receivers with at least 40 targets.
“Any ball in that radius, he’s going to get it. He’s going to find a way,” junior cornerback Tyler Horton said.
What won’t change is the ability to make the impossible possible.
In Thursday’s closed scrimmage, Wilson made a one-handed catch while leaping, behind his head.
“Maybe the most spectacular catch I’ve ever seen,” Harsin said.
No one in Boise needs to be swayed on Wilson’s talent, but there is an opportunity for the Mountain West, and perhaps the nation, to take notice. An honorable mention All-Mountain West pick in December, he wasn’t one of the two receivers on the preseason all-conference team last month.
That caused some eye rolls among those at Boise State, but Wilson will get plenty of chances to continue doing what he does best.
“At a time when the offense needs to make a play, he makes a play and it’s a spectacular play,” Harsin said.