North Panola football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wilbourn takes on many athletic hats

By Brad Greer

It is pretty easy to say that North Panola’s Bruce Wilbourn is the jack-of-all- trades.

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 Not only is he a standout on the gridiron but is also a forward and center on the Cougar basketball squad. Throw in playing summer league baseball and Wilbourn is a busy young man. But when it is all said and done, football seems to be his calling.

Despite going through a 1-8 season in 2006, Wilbourn put up some impressive individual numbers. The 6’0″ 185-pound senior caught 36 passes for 659 yards and 13 touchdowns at wide receiver while averaging 18.6 yards on punt returns and 21.3 yards on kickoff returns.

Throw in a pair of interceptions from his safety position on defense and 1,000 all-purpose yards on the season, one can tell why a number of Division I colleges should be calling on Wilbourn this fall.

All the schools in the Southeastern conference as well as Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. have been in contact with Wilbourn recently. With a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, Wilbourn will most likely be playing wide receiver; however, his head coach Vincent Johnson said Wilbourn could play a number of places on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“Bruce can play anywhere you put him,” said Johnson. “He can play receiver anywhere in the defensive backfield or if he can put on some extra pounds, he has the speed to play linebacker. Bruce is not a real vocal leader but he does his talking on the field.

“He is not going to do a lot of trash-talking out there,” Johnson continued. “When the lights come on Friday night, he is going to give you 110-percent no matter the circumstances. Both of his parents are real supportive of him. He is a great kid.”

Wilbourn expressed the same comments about his coach.

“I really like Coach Johnson,” Wilbourn said. “He really cares about us and makes sure we are doing what we are supposed to do in the classroom.”

But before Wilbourn plays his last down at North Panola, there is some unfinished business that has to be taken care of first and foremost.

“One of my goals is to make first-team All State,” said Wilbourn. “As far as team goals is concerned, it is to make the playoffs. We have been doing four days a week during the summer and won the seven-on-seven team drills in Jackson last month and that really helped our confidence.”

Wilbourn, who has a 2.4 grade point average in the classroom, along with a 17 on the ACT, has attended summer camps at Ole Miss and LSU.