Former Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox waited for his phone to ring throughout Friday evening.
After it finally did, the calls didn’t stop.
The first one was the biggest — the Dallas Cowboys called to let him know he was about to be a third round selection, 80th overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“I answered the phone,” Wilcox said Friday, “and I was like, ‘Hello?’ It was (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and his crew, on speakerphone. They said, ‘Are you excited?’ I just started crying.” Wilcox, at his Cairo home with friends and family, celebrated as the calls of congratulations poured in.
Wilcox became the highest-drafted player in Georgia Southern history.
When his college career started as a wide receiver, even he couldn’t have predicted this. He went from receiver to running back at Georgia Southern before playing out his senior year as a safety.
Wilcox was second on the team at GSU in tackles in 2012 with 88. He also returned kickoffs for the Eagles and intercepted two passes, including a pass from Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs to seal a 49-35 victory as GSU advanced to the semifinals.
Wilcox scored a rushing touchdown in his final game at GSU, against North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D., in his only offensive play of the season.