MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Georgia Southern transfer Anthony Wilson is only in his fourth month in Morgantown, but he’s already privy to WVU football history.
It was this school that bred his favorite player – former Mountaineer safety Karl Joseph – into the pad-popping menace that Wilson tries to emulate every time he steps on the field.
“I even got him on my lock screen on my phone,” Wilson said.
Joseph was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the Big 12 during his four seasons with the Mountaineers.
He set career-highs as a freshman in 2012 with 104 total tackles and a sack to go along with a pair of interceptions. Joseph’s senior season in 2015 was cut short when he suffered a season-ending injury in practice four games into the season, but not before he recorded five interceptions en route to a second-team All-American nod.
In total, he played 42 games as a Mountaineer.
“My favorite safety of all time,” Wilson said. “[I enjoy] just watching him, trying to emulate my game after him.”
Wilson’s collegiate experience is a little different. He has 36 starts to his name, but they all came at Georgia Southern.
He earned either honorable mention or third team All-Sun Belt honors every season from 2020 through 2022. This past season, he logged a team-high 1,023 defensive snaps, and finished second on the team with 101 tackles from the safety position.
According to Wilson, both he and Joseph share a mindset that is necessary for defensive players, but it can still be hard to find among some defensive backs.
“[It is] the will to want to tackle,” Wilson said. “The will to want to be physical. [I] feel like that’s the most important thing.”
In an offseason where physicality is at the forefront of everything the WVU football team does, Wilson’s mindset goes a long way.
The two have never met, which may not be the case for long, but for now, Wilson can look down to his lock screen for a gentle reminder of why he plays the game of football the way that he does.
“We’re almost the same size, [and] just growing up, seeing how he played the game physically, and just [the] want to go around and knock people around and make plays on the ball,” Wilson said. “That’s just something that I just [was drawn] to and want to emulate in my game.”