When you look at wide receiver Marquess Wilson’s numbers as a member of the Washington State football team, it is hard to believe he was available for the Bears to take him in the seventh round of the draft.
Wilson set a school record with 3,207 receiving yards and had 189 catches and 23 touchdowns during his time at the school, which ended earlier than expected when Wilson walked off the team last November. Wilson accused WSU head coach Mike Leach and the rest of the coaching staff of “physical, emotional and mental abuse” in a letter he sent to the media, leading the NCAA to investigate (the school was cleared of any wrongdoing) and Wilson to explain his departure from the school to interested teams.
Wilson says he told the Bears that he made a mistake in the way he handled the situation and made sure they knew how appreciative he is of the chance to make it at the professional level.
“I was just happy I got drafted,” Wilson said, via the team’s website. “I was just happy that I got a second opportunity, another chance to go out here and play football again. I just want to take full advantage of that opportunity and work hard out here.”
Bears General Manager Phil Emery said that the team looked into Wilson’s acrimonious end at WSU and found that he was “a good person who made an immature decision.” With that in mind, they felt there was little risk in selecting him with the 236th overall pick. There’s certainly less risk than there is upside with a player who might have been off the board on the second day of the draft if not for his decision to bolt last November.
If Wilson’s talent translates to the NFL and Emery’s read is correct, that decision is one that a Bears team trying to ramp up their offense will remember much more fondly than anyone at Washington State.