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May 31, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
For those on the outside it may look like a simple future projection, but for Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne offensive lineman Ishmael Wilson it is an insult.
Being listed in the Rivals.com database as the No. 7-ranked guard in the country is a slap to his 6-foot-5, near 300-pound frame.
"I am a left tackle," he said. "The only reason to list me at guard is because I am going to be starting there when I get to Texas A&M as a freshman or something. Other than that I am a tackle.
"Put the tape in and watch it. That is the position I am playing, that is the position I am perfecting, that is the position I will be playing. I am not a guard."
Let it be known that the last time Wilson played guard was in middle school.
"It gets me a little upset sometimes when I look and see that I am listed there," he said. "I try to tell myself that it means people think I can play multiple positions but I don't want to play guard and I don't want people thinking I am a guard."
And with that stance an opportunity is born. Wilson will be traveling from Texas to Atlanta for the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge and given the opportunity to work in a camp setting, receiving instruction on the offensive line, and then competing in one-on-ones and a lineman challenge.
The invitation-only event will take place on June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, and while Wilson will get his chance to play on the outside against some of the best pass rushers from the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014, he said that the results come with limitations.
"We won't be in full pads and knocking heads," Wilson said. "It isn't exactly real football even in the one-on-ones and stuff.
"I am excited but sometimes I think that people take that stuff too seriously. It is like getting all pumped up for 'Friday Night Lights' and then running out to play soccer. It isn't the same for a physical guy like me."
The Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge is a no-pad, no-helmet-style event, but will give full speed reps in the two days on the field.
While Wilson is toning down his expectation level, he is still preparing to give his all.
"Understanding you can still be beat is important," he said. "Once you learn that and you learn to hate it, then you can start working harder to prevent it."
The coaching aspect to his game is something that has dramatically improved in the last few years. Wilson said his move from New Orleans to Texas was like a light switch being turned on.
"They put some coaching on me," he said. "Now I am ready for that next step.
"I got good when I went to Lancaster [(Texas) High]," he said. "Now I got my attitude hard at Dunne.
"I am all about protecting my quarterback and opening it up for my running backs. It is a whole other level in Dallas."
It is the increased pressure from the community and the expectations from the fans -- some of whom may not have any other interest in the game other than to support its players -- has pushed him to be better.
"People want to talk about a rivalry between LSU and Alabama but that doesn't have any more hate than games around here," he said. "Lancaster and Dallas (Texas) Carter is nasty. [Dallas (Texas)] Kimball and DeSoto [(Texas) High] hate each other.
"You play down here and feel that hate and it makes you better. I can take that energy with me to any level and be ready to play."
Mike Farrell's take
Wilson is upset Rivals listed as a guard because we feel that's where he projects, mainly because of athleticism and footspeed issues. This is his chance to prove Rivals is wrong and show us he has the speed and quickness and recovery ability to work outside in college. He'll get his chance against some amazing defensive linemen at the event, and he's going in with a chip on his shoulder.
You don't think you're a guard? Show us!
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