From the stands in the first quarter of Florida’s 45-7 win over Kentucky, Chad Wilson knew his son Quincy had a chance to make an interception.
But even he couldn’t foresee the way the play unfolded.
On first-and-10, Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker dropped back to pass, his eyes set on Jeff Badet the entire time. Quincy Wilson pressed Badet from the start, and Chad’s eyes always focus on his son when he presses.
Wilson squeezed Badet to the left sideline and caught sight of the ball flying through the air..
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He leaped, acrobatically twisting his body in the process, and came down with the one-handed interception.
“It turned out to be something a lot more spectacular than I thought it would be,” Chad Wilson said.
It’s not the first spectacular play Quincy Wilson has made during his three years with the Gators. It probably won’t be the last.
But after playing with the likes of Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Tabor for his entire UF career, Wilson’s performances have fallen under the radar.
He plans to change that this year.
“There’s been a lot of talk about other guys in the SEC, you know Jalen and whatnot,” said Wilson, a former Fort Lauderdale University School standout, “but I feel like I’m right there with him. [Saturday] was just one step in proving that.”
Wilson has had his moments.
There was the Florida State game in 2014, where he came down with a diving interception that led to a Florida field goal.
There was the Ole Miss game last season, where Wilson took on the responsibility of covering eventual first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. By game’s end, Treadwell had just five catches for 42 yards.
And there was the South Carolina game, where his late interception sealed Florida’s 24-14 win.
“I think at times Quincy did get overlooked [last season], but he’s such a competitive kid,” UF defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said. “He’s a good kid. He every day works on his craft and wants to make a name for himself.”
During an interview at the NFL Combine in February, Treadwell singled out two corners as the toughest to face during his college career.
The first was Alabama’s Cyrus Jones, a second-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“The guy from Florida — not Vernon Hargreaves, the younger guy,” he said, referencing Wilson.
With a 6-1, 213-pound frame, Wilson can jam a receiver at the line of scrimmage and force them off a route.
But he couples that size and strength with enough speed and agility to keep up with receivers should he decide to play back.
“Once he gets his hands on you, it’s pretty tough to get off and in your route,” UF safety Marcus Maye said. “He also can run. It’s not like you can run away from him. He can play off and cover you and he can pressure you.”
Couple his talents with Tabor, an All-SEC ball-hawking corner who paced the conference in defended passes last season (18) and also had an interception against Kentucky, and Wilson said opposing quarterbacks should fear throwing on the outside when they play UF.
“I feel like we’re the best in the nation and I think that really showed,” Wilson said. “He got his pick off straight knowledge, of knowing that the screen was coming. “I got mine off just my ability to play football.”
It’s an ability he’s had since he started playing when he was 6.
And with the NFL in the near future, his father said people are beginning to take notice.
“He’s a little bit more reserved,” Chad Wilson said. “He’s not as flamboyant about things. He’s not as outspoken. ... He does want to be seen as a top cornerback because he certainly feels that way.”