There were times as a student at Einstein that Khalil Wilson would attend Titans’ football games, and while sitting in the stands as a spectator, fans would approach and ask him why he wasn’t on the field. His brother, Devante Wilson was a star for Einstein. And many believed that Kahlil, blessed with a prodigious running ability and a large frame, would follow suit.
“There were a lot of questions like, ‘Why aren’t you playing football? Or when are you going to get on the field? A lot of questions I really didn’t have an answer to,” Wilson said. “Academically I couldn’t be on the field. I wanted to in my heart, body and soul, be on the field. But I just couldn’t.”
Academic ineligibility kept Wilson off the field during his first three years at the school, and it wasn’t until he pulled up his GPA to suitable standards that he was able to play last fall in his fourth. And he was a star.
Wilson proved to be one of the best running backs in Maryland, if not one of the most productive runners in the entire Washington, D.C. area, rushing for 1,567 yards and 11 touchdowns. He posted 100-yard rushing games in eight of 10 contests (he rushed for over 200 yards in two games and over 300 in another), leading Einstein to a 6-4 record and a near berth in the Maryland 3A playoffs. It was the first winning season for the Titans in at least 12 years.
This fall he’s poised for another promising season on and off the field, now that Wilson has been granted another year of eligibility by Einstein’s administration and the State Board of Education. That year of eligibility was granted after Wilson met certain academic standards that was set forth in a “contract” by Einstein administrators last year, he said.
“I definitely feel blessed,” Wilson said. “Just for the opportunity to play football for the school where I messed up.”
At 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds, Wilson made his name last fall on a bruising running style between the tackles. But he also possessed the vision and speed in the open field to put up some of his best numbers against some of the best defenses in Montgomery County. Against Seneca Valley, he ran for 143 yards and a score, and he torched Damascus for another 100 yards rushing. Not only is Wilson prepared to work as the feature back again this fall, but he’s also ready to carry more of the offensive load for the Titans (he received 25 carries or more in just two of 10 games last year), need be. He will be playing at around 230 pounds as a senior, he said.
The recruiting front is another barrier he’s ready to break through. He has very little interest at the moment, but has spoken with several small schools and visited Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania earlier this year. It’s a start. If he has to, Wilson will go that route for two years in order reach his goal of playing major college football, he said, but he is still holding out hope that his academic work will catch up with his football talent this fall. If that happens, he’s confident Football Bowl Division or Football Championship Subdivision schools will take a chance.
“More importantly, if I can get the grades to go to a D-1 school, I think I can get some D-1 buzz (on the field). I’m more focused on my accomplishments in the classroom than I am on my accomplishments on the field, which I know will stand out,” Wilson said. “I’m strictly on grades right now. I know athletically I’ll perform on the field, top-notch.”