GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson made a name for himself in last year’s Ole Miss game, but it took four months for the national media to realize it.
The Gators upset the No. 3 Rebels with a 38-10 win and locked up the SEC’s top wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell. His 42 receiving yards were his second-lowest total in a season during which he led the conference (1,153) and had six 100-yard games.
However, Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III wasn’t the one who shut down Treadwell.
“Not Hargreaves,” Treadwell told reporters at the NFL combine, “but the younger guy.”
Some media outlets, including Sports Illustrated, assumed Treadwell was referring to Florida’s Jalen “Teez” Tabor.
“The media is always ready to jump on who’s hot or hyped up,” Wilson said. “But I set the record straight and let people know it was me.”
"The younger guy" pic.twitter.com/ExKyfQJnp9
— Quincy Wilson (@dc_wilson954) February 25, 2016
Wilson covered Treadwell for almost the entire game, frustrating him with his physicality and size. The 6-foot-1, 213-pound cornerback shook his finger at Treadwell after making a diving pass breakup.
“I started trash-talking, and he couldn’t catch any balls,” Wilson said. “He was just way out of his game. That was real big for me. I feel like everyone in college has a big matchup. Vernon had one his sophomore year with (Amari) Cooper, and mine was Treadwell.
“It was a great opportunity. I was really prepared throughout the week. I play right corner and I knew he was going to be lined up on my side. So I was ready for him.”
Despite his stellar play against Treadwell and throughout his sophomore season, Wilson isn’t getting much recognition heading into his junior year. Of course, that can happen when you play alongside Tabor, one of the most popular athletes in college football.
“You can’t name anybody that’s better than Quincy, besides me,” Tabor said with a smile. “I feel like he’s really the best corner.”
Wilson has been overshadowed in Florida’s secondary the past two years, but defensive coordinator Geoff Collins views him in the same light as Hargreaves and Tabor.
“We arguably had three of the elite corners in college football with Vernon, Teez and Quincy playing at a high level,” Collins said. “I think at times Quincy did get overlooked, but he’s such a competitive kid.
“Laquon Treadwell was one of the better receivers in college football, and Quincy was as dominant of a player throughout that game as whatever matchup he might have had. So we are expecting big things from him.”
So is Tabor, who feels the Ole Miss game was a turning point for Wilson.
“That shot his confidence through the roof,” Tabor said. “You get that moment of gratitude, like, ‘OK, now I know I can play.’ That was a big step in his career.”
The next step for Wilson is becoming a full-time starter. He’s just as critical to Florida’s secondary success as Tabor. Without one of them, there would be a huge void at cornerback post-Hargreaves.
“Quincy is huge. It’s like having Kobe without Shaq,” Tabor said. “You’re only as good as that next guy.”
Wilson started two games as a true freshman and nine last season, but has played in all 26 games in his career. He likes that Tabor is getting all the attention, because that makes quarterbacks more likely to throw his way.
“There will be more chances for me to make my plays,” Wilson said. “I kind of would rather have it this way. It’s just motivating. I’m ready to go out there and make my name more known.
“There’s not going to be a drop-off. This school always produces great DBs. It’s not next man up, it’s next first-rounder up.”
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.