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Bears extend opportunity to Rebels' Wilson
Tucker Wilson
Tucker Wilson looks up Monday before signing a national letter of intent to attend Mercer University. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s Tucker Wilson expressed gratitude for the chance to play college football. His high school coach has no doubt that Mercer University won’t regret offering it to him.

“To know Tucker is to love Tucker,” Effingham County head coach John Ford said.

Ford then expressed his confidence in the 5-foot-11, 210-pound linebacker’s abilities to play for the Bears of the Southern Conference.

“I know one thing today, Tucker. The Mercer Bears (just) got better,” Ford said Monday before Wilson signed his national letter of intent. “The second that they (conduct) camp in July, that weight room is about to be revolutionized. That program is about to be changed ...”

Wilson can bench press 345 pounds, squat 415 and clean 330. He also runs a the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

“As good of a player as he is — and he is an outstanding football player — he is a warrior, he is fast, he is strong, he has stamina and I think everybody will tell you that there is not an ounce of ‘quit’ in his body,” Ford said. “He knows one pace and once pace only — and that’s 110 percent of everything that he’s got on every play as hard as he can go.”

Ford said Tucker’s intangibles “are great.”

“... but to be truly elite, the intangibles have to be greater than the tangibles,” Ford said, “and I can’t think of any better embodiment of that than Tucker Wilson.”

 Rebels athletic director Matt Huntley also heaped praise on Wilson.

“I’ve gotten to know Tucker over the years,” he said. “He’s just a great young man. You can’t find anyone better in the hallways or on the field.

“He really came to shine this year on the football field and really improved, and worked his way to get better and better and better to earn this opportunity this morning.”

Wilson thanked God for the chance to go to college. He also expressed gratitude to Ford and his coaching staff, his teammates, his family, his community and Mercer University.

“Once a Rebel always a Rebel, but now it’s, ‘Go Bears,’ ” he said.