Driven to Achieve

Tarleton Senior Set to Lead Defense into Division I

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Senior linebacker Ronnell Wilson was an integral part of Tarleton’s two consecutive undefeated regular seasons, racking up an impressive list of accomplishments and honors.

As a junior he was named all-America, all-region and all-conference, as well as to the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He made 81 tackles on a defense that ranked in the top 10 nationally in pass defense and scoring defense.

That was after he got to college.                                          

As a prep standout at Abilene High School, he earned all-district and all-state and made district defensive MVP as a senior.

So what motivates him to such performance week in and week out?

“I love making plays,” he said, “but I like celebrating with my teammates the most. You don’t celebrate when you’re getting scored on or someone’s converting third-and-4 on you.

“When I look into the secondary and see a DB making a play, I go crazy. When defensive lineman Jordan Wells is getting a sack, it makes me want to play to that level.”

Ronnell is a senior kinesiology major with plans aplenty.

“I came to college to learn about the body,” he said. “I want to be a strength and conditioning coach at the college or professional level. But really, there are so many things I want to do with my life that I couldn’t give one answer.

“I’d like to act, I’d like to own things, I’d like to play in the NFL, I’d like to become a world-renowned chef. There are a bunch of things I’d like to do.”

First, however, there’s the matter of his senior season, now rescheduled to spring 2021. Though that’s not the typical time to play, he says he’s not disappointed.

“It’s going to be the last season of college football for me. I wouldn’t want to play with no fans in the stands or no festivities around the games. I want all of the football part of the college experience. I want to take it all in.”

The Texans, who moved into NCAA Division I during the summer, will face tougher competition with the jump in classification.

They were unbeaten in their last two seasons in the Lone Star Conference of Division II and fully intend to continue their gridiron dominance.

“We like to think the success was not so much on the field as in our players’ mindsets and motivations,” Ronnell said. “We believed we could win. We believed we could beat anybody. We believed we could stop anybody.

“The mindset doesn’t change, just the competition gets better. We have to work that much harder, and we know it’s going to be a lot more challenging.”

Personally, he’s happy Tarleton will be competing at the higher level.

“Being recruited out of high school, everybody wants to go D-I. You feel like D-I is the pinnacle of college football. Now you get to say, ‘I’m a D-I football player.’ “


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