GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For the record, Florida cornerback Marco Wilson does not especially like being compared to his older brother, former Gators star corner Quincy Wilson.
“Not at all. I don’t like it. Because I’m not my brother; I’m my own person,” the younger Wilson said after practice Tuesday night. “I play like how I play. He’s a great corner; I’m a great corner, too, but we’re not the same.”
Many may have trouble ignoring the connection, given that as soon as Quincy Wilson headed off to the NFL, a second-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts a year ago, his younger brother stepped right into the starting lineup, helping to fill his void.
Wilson was just the fourth Florida freshman to start at cornerback in a season opener in program history, though he didn’t look much like a freshman last fall. Nor did fellow rookie standout CJ Henderson, for that matter.
Wilson and Henderson formed an impressive duo as part of a rotation with then-senior Duke Dawson, who often shifted to the nickel spot. Wilson racked up a team-high 10 pass breakups and earned Freshman All-SEC honors from the conference’s coaches, while Henderson nabbed 4 interceptions (2 returned for touchdowns), 4 pass breakups and earned Freshman All-SEC and second-team All-SEC (Associated Press) honors.
Neither had much interest reflecting on their early successes, though, while speaking with reporters Tuesday for the first time since arriving on campus.
“Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by my freshman season. I know I’ve got a lot more to do,” Wilson said. “I don’t even pay attention when everybody says, like, ‘I’m good.’ I know I’ve got a lot more to do and I’ve got a lot of work to do because I want to be the best. I want to be known as the best and I want to end up going on to the next level, and when I get to the next level, I want to be the best there, too.”
Said Henderson: “I guess I had a great freshman year, but I’m not satisfied at all with it. I’m going to continue working hard.”
Just as Wilson is different from his older brother, he and Henderson are very different personalities.
Wilson has an engaging smile and plenty to say, while Henderson is at all times stoic and straight to the point.
Asked about his pick-6s in each of his first two college games last fall, which is a first for a Gators player, he offered little reaction.
“Mentally, I was just ready for the next game. I tried not to think about it at all,” he said.
Wilson stood out last fall for his smothering coverage, while Henderson is one of the fastest players on the team and, as he proved, a threat to make a game-changing defensive play at any point.
Together, they could well be the next great Gators’ cornerback duo, following in the footsteps of, yes, Quincy Wilson and Jalen “Teez” Tabor (among many others before them).
“Right now, we’re not really focused on that,” Wilson said. “We’re just focused on learning what we have to do on the field and just playing. We’re not really focused on what everybody’s got to say about the duo or anything like that.”
Or those comparisons between one Wilson and the other.
Wilson did say he talks to his brother after every game and receives feedback and accountability, and yes, he’s used to the comparisons.
But he’s here to earn his own reputation.
He said he’s put on 10 pounds from last season, going up to 188 pounds this spring, which he thinks will help him compete even better against bigger receivers.
“I just think I could have made more plays,” he said, looking back on his strong freshman campaign. “Even if I go out this season and get 10 picks, I still won’t be satisfied. I still need more. I need to get 11; I need to get 12; I need to get more.”
As he wrapped up the interview session, a reporter innocently said, “Thanks, Quincy” by accident before apologizing for his mistake.
Wilson gave a “c’mon man” look as everyone shared a laugh, but if he can grow as much from his freshman to sophomore years as he expects, well, there will be fewer and fewer people viewing him as Quincy’s little brother.