Marcus McWilson came to Kentucky as a 4-star prospect out of Cardinal Mooney HS in Youngstown, Ohio, alma mater of both Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow, with high hopes. He held offers from schools like Nebraska, Louisville, and Michigan State, and many felt he could be a key piece in turning around a struggling UK secondary
In three and a half years in a Kentucky uniform, he has been a solid role player, but has failed to standout as the stud many thought he could be.
Earlier this year, Mark Stoops called out the former four-star, saying McWilson needed to step his game up, especially in the absence of Darius West.
It took some time, but last night, he played out of his mind, and was properly rewarded for it by the coaching staff.
Early in the game, MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald sent his receiver in motion on a designed screen play on third down. McWilson caught the play, making an impressive stop in the backfield to force a Bulldogs punt. His instincts on the play caused an eruption in the stands, where he and the Kentucky defense turned in an entire quarter without allowing Mississippi State to reach the first down marker. The entire defense made play after play, but it was McWilson that stood out among the bunch.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, McWilson read a quick throw to the outside, made the interception, and returned it to the house on a 44-yard pick-six. Mark Stoops immediately ran over to his former prized recruit and took him to the ground on a tackle. After missing several interception opportunities in his career, he had finally gotten the big one, and the entire stadium went nuts.
– Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 23, 2016
Outside of his two game-changing plays, McWilson finished with eight tackles (three solo), good for second on the team behind Jordan Jones (11). It was a great effort from the senior safety, one that the coaching staff, teammates, and fans were all proud of.
For a guy that has been criticized by the coaching staff and media throughout his career, it was awesome to see him have a field day out there last night.
Great work, Marcus McWilson.