Price Wilson is poised to take the reins in the fall, and not only has he had a breakout offseason going into spring practice — which begins Wednesday — but he already has five varsity starts to his credit.
The rising senior appears to be 100 percent after injuring his knee in Walton’s final regular-season game at Roswell. He recently returned from the Atlanta Elite 11 quarterback camp in Buford and was graded in the top seven of more than 70 quarterbacks who participated.
Coaches complimented Wilson’s strong arm and his ability to be on target with his passes. They were also impressed with his footwork and mobility, especially during the pressure cooker drill.
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, and instructor at the Elite 11 camp, praised Wilson for being “probably as natural with his stroke” as any other quarterback at the camp, as well as the “ton of energy” the ball has off his hands.
“I really liked (the camp) — it was well-organized,” Wilson said. “The coaches were all experienced. Instead of just dropping back and throwing the ball, they would force us to move out of the pocket and roll out just to keep us on our toes.”
Though Wilson’s 6-foot-1, 218-pound frame is keeping him from being a five-star recruit, he has already received offers from Eastern Kentucky, Louisiana Tech and Marshall.
Wilson’s offseason success didn’t end with the Elite 11 camp. He was named MVP of the Heartland Elite 7-on-7 Shootout after leading Team Georgia to its first national title Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Wilson currently works out with quarterback trainer Ron Veal and strength and agility coach Tyrone Jones — the father of former Walton tailback Tyren Jones — four days a week with hopes of being more mobile when the Raiders begin play in August.
Since last fall, Wilson said he’s grown more comfortable with his footwork, throwing the ball and rolling out of the pocket to pinpoint his intended receiver.
Now, he’s ready to prove it to coach Rocky Hidalgo and his Walton teammates over the next two weeks.
In the fifth game of the 2012 season, Wilson had to take over when McLeod injured his ankle in Walton’s 21-7 win over Cherokee on Sept. 28.
Wilson went on to make the next five starts until McLeod was healthy enough to star in Walton’s double-overtime loss to Parkview in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
Wilson had his highs and lows, finishing with 598 passing yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions in helping Walton finish with a 7-4 record.
“You always have that little bit of nervousness, but I was prepared and confident,” Wilson said. “I was more anxious to get in there and show what I have.”
His first start of the season came against Lassiter, and was constantly pressure by the Trojans’ front seven in a 21-9 loss. He completed three of 13 passes for 86 yards and two interceptions.
But he bounced back to help Walton rally from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against Wheeler with a game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass that led the Raiders to a 24-23 victory. He was then 5-for-8 with 84 yards and a touchdown in Walton’s nationally televised 27-7 win over Milton.