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Old 04-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Tavon's difficult life

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/f..._in_his_grief/

Hate Borges: But....

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/f..._in_his_grief/

Quote:
Motivation in Tavon Wilson’s Grief
Ron Borges

FOXBORO — Her name is tattooed to his arm. Her face is tattooed to his chest. Her memory is tattooed to his heart even though Tavon Wilson’s mother has been gone for 10 years now.

In a sad way, the memory of Robin Williams pushed her son all the way to Foxboro, where he arrived last night as the Patriots [team stats]’ stunning second-round draft pick. That he got here surprised nearly every draft expert, but it didn’t surprise him or his grandmother, Darlene Williams, who has raised him since his mother drowned during a pool party when he was 12.

Wilson already had lost his father, who was murdered before he ever got to know him. Wilson was a year old at the time, the beginning of a life of struggle that would have stopped most people in their tracks, but with the help of his grandmother it pushed him from a tough part of Washington, D.C., through the University of Illinois and now to the Patriots, disappointment and difficulties dogging him all the way.

Rather than be consumed by his troubles, Wilson converted them into the kind of fire that made him a three-year starter at Illinois at cornerback and strong safety and last night brought him to the Patriots even though he was denied a slot at the annual NFL scouting combine workouts in February and most draft gurus had him listed as little more than a potential undrafted rookie free agent.

“It was rough, man,” Wilson said of life after his parents passed away. “My hat goes off to my grandmother because she’s a strong woman to take me and my sister in. Just raise us the best she can to try and give us everything she possibly could.

“Everybody has to overcome adversity. I overcame a lot of things in my life. That’s the reason I’m here today and the reason why I’m the person I am today. I just keep working all the time.”

The person he is this morning is the most unlikely second-round pick in this draft.

Captain of the Illini, Wilson started at strong safety as a junior and then at corner for 12 games and safety for one game last fall, finishing third on the team in tackles.

None of that was enough to impress the folks who select the more than 300 players who arrive at the combine each year, however. To be passed over came as a surprise, but was nothing compared to the disappointments in his life. So Wilson did what he has always done. He just kept working.
“I watched every rep of it,” Wilson said of the combine workouts. “I took it all in. Tried to watch what those guys did, as far as their technique and stuff. Watched their times and just tried to go out there and compete against those guys and tried to make my times better. It was definitely motivating.
“Any time you don’t get into something that you feel like you should be in, you just try. I’m a competitor, so I watched it. I watched it and saw what those guys did.”
Instead of moping around or focusing on another thing missing in his life, Wilson looked at the combine snub as an opportunity. In his mind, the invitees had six weeks to prepare for their NFL audition.

“I had eight (before Illinois’ pro day),” Wilson theorized. “When I got my opportunity to show what I can do, I showed what I can do.”

Whatever he showed impressed the Pats enough to pluck him out of a pool of secondary candidates most draft experts overlooked. Exactly what they saw in him no one knows.
“I was hearing a lot of different things as far as what round,” Wilson said of his pre-draft status. “It was all over the place. I feel like I worked hard enough to go as high as anybody. I really didn’t pay no attention to it.”

That probably has been the key to his survival. Somehow, with the help of his grandmother and his grandfather, a youth football coach himself, Tavon Wilson survived the harshest of beginnings by focusing on pressing forward.

“He was always a good student but his grades dropped a little bit when his mother passed,” Darlene Williams told the Galesburg Register Mail 21⁄2 years ago. “He always wanted to go to college. He loves sports so much that it kept him occupied.”

Soon he will be occupied with learning the Patriots [team stats]’ complicated defensive schemes and proving wrong all those scouts that had little faith in his abilities and didn’t
feel he was among the top 300 college football players eligible for this year’s draft.

But after the sun sets and another long day at training camp comes to an end, Tavon Wilson’s true motivation will creep into his mind. He will think of Robin Williams and resolve to work a little harder tomorrow to move another step closer to turning a boy’s nightmare into a young man’s dream.

Cheers, BostonTim

Last edited by BostonTim; 04-28-2012 at 03:50 PM..
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