Petoskey QB Joel Wilson recruited as tight end on National Signing Day

During his high school years at Petoskey (Mich.), Joel Wilson played out of position as a quarterback. 

At Central Michigan University, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound student-athlete will get his chance to perform at tight end. 

“He played out of position in high school,” said CMU head coach John Bonamego. “We had him in one of our one-day camps and towards the end of the day we had him run some (tight end) routes in one-on-one.

“It was probably the best investment the kid and family ever made was $50 to send him to the camp because it sold us on him.”

When Wilson was going to CMU for the summer football camp, he had no intentions of getting time as a tight end. Once the camp was over, Chippewa coaches pushed to recruit Wilson. 

“I initially worked with the quarterbacks, then towards the end of the camp I ran routes and really impressed the coaches,” Wilson said. “(My recruitment) really kicked off after that.”

Back in October of 2017, Wilson earned a walk-on offer from the Chippewas. On Feb. 2, the quarterback went back to Mount Pleasant for a final visit before making a collegiate decision. 

During his early February visit, Wilson was offered a scholarship and made his commitment to the Mid-American Conference program. 

“Central Michigan has always been the school I’ve wanted to go to since I started getting recruited,” Wilson said. “My goal was always to play Division I football and CMU is a great fit for me, so I knew I wanted to go there.”

Making the switch from quarterback to tight end is something that Wilson has already started working on, but he is excited to continue on his journey to a successful collegiate career. In the eyes of Wilson, being a quarterback in high school will only help him as a tight end. 

“Coach Bonamego knows what he’s doing and they see a lot of potential with me going into tight end,” Wilson said. “I love to run routes and catch the ball, so being able to do that in college is going to be fun. I think it’ll work out great.

“As a quarterback, it’s nice because I know how I like my receivers to run their routes. It just gives me a better understanding on how to make myself better for the team.” 

Wilson played running back until his sophomore year, which is when Petoskey coach Kerry Vanorman moved him to quarterback.

In his senior season, Wilson passed for about 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scrambled for about 500 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Since gaining interest in Wilson, Bonamego has spent a lot of time with him. Last week, he went to see him play in a high school basketball game. The tight end was a three-sport athlete at Petoskey, playing football, basketball and baseball. 

“He’s a great kid,” Bonamego said. “It’s a tremendous environment at Petoskey, one of the best I’ve had the privelige of being around. 

“(I’m) extremely excited to add this kid to our roster. I think he’s a tough, athletic kid who’s going to find his way on the field in one way or another.”

In the northern Michigan area, Wilson was the only player to sign to a Division I football program on the Feb. 7 National Signing Day.

“I love the atmosphere, the coaching staff and where the program is at,” Wilson said of CMU. “I had offers from Davenport, Northwood and Ferris State, but I chose CMU over those because I felt differently about Central (Michigan).”