Josh Wilson (Geoff Burke/US Presswire)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- It takes a lot of work to get to the NFL and the players will tell you no one does it alone. So how did they make to the big time? What happened "before they were Redskins?"
Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson had it in his genes. As son of Houston Oilers full back Tim Wilson, he seemed destined for the football field, too.
Every little boy wants to do what his dad did so that is what I wanted to do," shared Josh Wilson.
But following the last game of his eighth grade season, Josh got the worst news a boy could get: his mom told him his father had died. Tim Wilson had a fatal heart attack at 42. Josh leaned on his family, his love of the game and his new school the following year for support.
DeMatha Catholic High School became a place to focus his energy. Josh's art teacher Vaugh Holsey told us, "That was one of the driving factors of his life, in my relationship with him. 'I got to do this in memory of my dad, I want to do this for my mom and my sister too and for me but I want to do this for my dad.' He was very passionate talking about his father."
As the pain started to ease a bit, his friends got a taste of the real Josh Wilson: the Chatter Box!
Current DeMatha football coach Elijia Brooks played on the same team with josh when the two were students at DeMatha. When we asked him "when you think of Josh, what do you think?" Brooks replied, "Talker. He was always going to be the guy who would stir things up. Not in a bad way. It was his competitive nature."
Wilson would back up his talk on the field. College programs were taking notice and then, Wilson said, "Going into my 11th grade year I had quit football ... I ran summer track and got 2nd place in the 400 hurdles so I was going to be a track star."
He added, "I said, 'Mom, I'm not going out for football this year' and my mom said, 'you're crazy. Go back out to football."
He did, but Josh's mother Yolanda wasn't just molding a football player. She insisted her son become a complete man. Former DeMatha coach Bill McGregor watched her hard work pay off.
"I think he's the type of player that any young man would aspire to be, 3.4 from Dematha, goes on to University of Maryland did very, very well there, graduates from Maryland, character wise comes back and works in the community," said McGregor.
Josh Wilson was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, did a stint with the Ravens, and is now playing defensive back for his beloved Redskins. He credits his mom in large part for where he is today.
He said, "She's done everything to make sure I had the best opportunity to make it here,"
Tim Wilson's boy sharing his passion just like his dad. Must have been some good genes.