With one dream dashed, David Wilson has wasted little time in moving on to another ambition.
The 23-year-old former New York Giants running back, who was forced to walk away from the sport due to a serious neck injury, has got his sights set on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Throughout high school and college Wilson was a bonafide triple jump star. As a prep he won the triple jump national championship with a Nike Indoor Meet record of 51 feet, 5.75 inches. At Virginia Tech Wilson finished sixth at the 2011 NCAA championships with a jump of 53 feet, 1.74 inches. That would have placed Wilson in the top 12 finishers at the 2012 Olympics.
Wilson, who left Virginia Tech after his junior year and was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, will return to Blacksburg, Va., to finish his degree and start training for a long jump career. And he confirmed to reporters that he's got his sights set high.
“It’s like playing football," Wilson said, via the New York Post. "You don’t grow up wanting to play in the Canadian League. Everyone wants to play in the NFL. That’s the mindset I have. I want to compete in the best meets. I’m excited to get back into it.”
Wilson said he never thought about competing in the Olympics during his football career, but after being forced to retire he turned his focus elsewhere.
“When I was involved in football, that’s all I was thinking about was football,” Wilson told For The Win. “That’s not bad in my situation, because the person I am, I know I can make track. I’m strong enough to know that there’s more to life than that. Some people might have taken it more heavy if they took the same approach I had as just focusing on one thing.”
Interestingly, Wilson isn't the only former NFL running back who is looking to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. Former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett has picked up rugby and has drawn some positive early reviews.