Bastrop wide receiver Jay Wilson has verbally committed to the University of Central Arkansas where he will join former Rams RaDarius Winston and Earl Ross Downs.
Bastrop wide receiver Jay Wilson has verbally committed to the University of Central Arkansas. A signing ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the school library. A.k.a. National Signing Day, Wednesday marks the first day of the college football signing period.
Wilson also received offers from McNeese State and Central Arkansas.
UCA showed a high level of interest in Wilson, who is also a guard for the basketball team. Head coach Clint Conque, offensive coordinator Brooks Hollingsworth and wide receivers coach Matt Kubik made the trip from Conway to attend the Rams' Jan. 29 home game against Ruston.
“They wanted Jay real bad,” Bastrop coach Thomas Bachman said. “I think UCA is a real good fit for him.”
Wilson says he expects to make a smooth transition to the next level as the Bears' offense is similar to the Rams.
“I fit right in with their offense,” the 5-7, 161-pound Wilson said. “They run the bubble (screen), jail (break) and the the jet — everything we do at Bastrop.”
Wilson, who is academically qualified, sees the opportunity to play right away for the Bears.
“They lost their starting slot receiver who is about a half-head taller than me. The coaches told me that if I come in with the right mindset, I can be a starter for them my freshman year,” Wilson said.
Wilson hopes to join a line of former Bastrop players who have experienced success at UCA. Offensive tackle Jeremy Ford, who now resides in the Tulsa area, was a four-year starter for the Bears and earned his college degree. RaDarius “Nook” Winston is entering his senior year as the Bears' starting free safety, while Earl Ross Downs saw action as a backup center last season as a redshirt freshman.
Wilson said Winston and Downs both encouraged him to sign with UCA.
“Winston and Earl Ross both told me that UCA was a good environment,” Wilson said. “All the football players that I talked to said that the freshmen were treated equal to everyone else. I talked to the quarterback and one of the receivers and they both said they were going to show me a lot of love just like I was going to show them a lot of love. It's one big family.
“The coaches are all cool. I liked the school, the apartments they showed me — everything. It just seems like a cool place to be.”
Wilson says he will be able to pursue his other passion — calf-roping — at UCA.
“UCA just built a new rodeo arena like the MAC in Bastrop,” Wilson said. “The coaches told me they would set it up where I could do my calf-roping on weekends. They said I won't get bored.”
Bastrop's leading receiver the past three seasons, Wilson earned first-team Class 4A All-State honors as a senior after catching 79 passes for 1,343 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also returned 16 kickoffs for a 20.7-yard average, including a 91-yard TD vs. Neville.
As a junior, Wilson snared 69 passes for 877 yards As a sophomore, Wilson helped the Rams to a state quarterfinal berth with 59 catches for 1,055 and 14 scores.
Wilson currently leads the Rams' basketball team in scoring (18.1) and steals (3.8).