Titans drafting Isaiah Wilson ignited Brooklyn joy: ‘Shock’

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The Jets and Giants were done for the night Thursday, each having selected offensive tackles in the NFL draft. But the excitement wasn’t over. It was nearing midnight and in parts around Brooklyn, there would be explosions of joy coming from anyone who had come across Isaiah Wilson.

“We all went crazy,” recalled former high school teammate Tegha Egbiri, who was on a Zoom call with several of his former teammates at the time Wilson was picked. “We were in shock, honestly.”

“My phone was blowing up,” Wilson’s Poly Prep coach, Kevin Fountaine, said. “It’s very exciting.”

The 6-foot-7, 350-pound Wilson, a two-year starter at right tackle, made history, just the second player from the five boroughs in 34 years to be taken in the first round, chosen 29th overall by the Titans after a strong three-year career at Georgia. Six years after Staten Island defensive tackle Dominique Easley was taken 29th by the Patriots, the Brooklyn native joined him in select company.

All along the way, Wilson bet on himself, by passing on prep powerhouses to stay four years at Poly Prep. After leaving Georgia following his redshirt sophomore season rather than return, he was initially expected to be taken on the second day, possibly as late as the third round. But the second-team All-SEC selection’s stock picked up late, and he was scooped up by the Titans, who are coming off a trip to the AFC Championship game and lost starting right tackle Jack Conklin to free agency.


“I want to buy my mom a house wherever she wants,” Wilson told Titans Online.

It was clear Wilson was unique in high school. He moved extraordinarily well for a young man his size. He played lacrosse as a junior, wrestled until he got too big and was used as a wildcat quarterback on occasion, even scoring three touchdowns in a game once.

“Oh, my goodness. I felt like teams were afraid to play us sometimes,” Egbiri said. “No one actually believed how big he was until you stepped on the field with him.”

Wilson has stayed in contact with many of his high school teammates and has been back to spend time with the current team. Last week, he jumped on a Zoom call with Fountaine and his players to discuss the draft process.

“He’s one of those kids who remembers where he come from, which is great,” Fountaine said. “Any time he could come back, he would take the opportunity.”

He drew a who’s who of big-name college coaches to Poly Prep and was a five-star, All-American recruit, picking Georgia over Michigan and Alabama. Off the field, though, is where Wilson truly separated himself. He had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to get to school on time and frequently didn’t get home until 8:30 p.m. Football and school were his life. Everything else took a backseat. He put aside being a kid for his dreams. They came true Thursday night.


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