Andrew Wilson Hits Like A Hammer

Posted May 22, 2014

Undrafted free agent won Missouri’s Team Hammer Award all four of his collegiate seasons.

Like father like son.

As he usually did during his four seasons at the University of Missouri, Andrew Wilson made things happen during the Tigers’ 2014 Cotton Bowl Classic appearance against Oklahoma State.

Wilson finished with 15 tackles that day, which was impressive but not unheard of for the linebacker who led his team in tackles each of the past three seasons.

But there was one tackle that stood out, even though it had little bearing on Missouri ending up with a 41-31 victory. It occurred early in the third quarter when Wilson teamed with freshman defensive tackle Josh Augusta to stop OSU running back Desmond Roland after a 1-yard gain.

The tackle was Wilson’s seventh of the game and the 324th of his career at Missouri. With the tackle, Wilson moved into sole possession of 11th place on the school’s all-time list.

One of the two players with whom he briefly shared 12th place was defensive back Erik McMillian, who went on to a six-year NFL career, mostly with the New York Jets.

The other was a linebacker who played in the early 1980s and was the school’s all-time leader when he left after the 1983 season. That player was Jay Wilson.

Yep, Andrew Wilson’s father.

“I passed him the last game of my career, so that was pretty cool,” said Wilson, who was among the 20 undrafted free agents the Dolphins signed last week. “We had a little bit (of conversation about the all-time tackle list), not a whole lot. But we’ve talked a little bit since then, just how I passed him.

“I mean, he was happy for me. I don’t think he was jealous at all. He was happy for me.”

Jay Wilson went undrafted in 1984 but went to training camp with the Cleveland Browns, although he never played in the NFL.

Andrew will try to take that next step with the Dolphins, hoping to land a roster spot as a rookie free agent.

The younger Wilson clearly made a lot of plays at Missouri, but he also left an impression on opponents. Missouri hands out a Team Hammer Award every year to the defensive player who dishes out the most big hits, and Wilson won the award all four of his seasons.

Even as a redshirt freshman when most of his playing time came on special teams.

“He’s always been very physical, a very explosive hitter,” Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel told the Kansas City Star last fall. “And when he hits you, he just strikes you. That’s what we’ve known him for.”

Wilson beat out for the award some high-profile competition, namely 2014 second-round pick Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year.

After passing his father on the all-time tackle list, Wilson added eight more tackles against Oklahoma State to finish with 332 for his career, good for 10th place in Missouri annals.

Of course, his father might have finished higher on the list had he played more than two seasons at Missouri.

Andrew, a second-team All-SEC selection in his first year as a starter in 2011, said he and his friends would watch tape of his father in action.

“We gave him a hard time,” Andrew said with a smile. “We’d kind of critique it and give him a hard time, so that was fun.

“He made plays, but he wasn’t overly fast,” Andrew added when asked for a scouting report on his father.

As for a scouting report on himself, Andrew said this before the draft: “I’m a physical, hard-working guy, a smart linebacker and a guy who can run your defense and do everything you need me to do on special teams.”

Wilson’s hometown in Missouri is called Peculiar, but there’s nothing really odd about Wilson. He’s a typical, eager, hard-working rookie with big dreams.

Those include landing an NFL job as a rookie free agent.

“Everybody dreams of getting drafted, but it didn’t happen,” Wilson said. “But I’m down here in Miami, having a great time. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
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