Emmanuel Wilson, Denver Broncos
Fort Valley State

Denver Broncos RB Emanuel Wilson looking to show labels don’t matter

Emmanuel Wilson is a big back from a small school that plans on showing the Denver Broncos playing at a D2 HBCU doesn’t define him.

CHARLOTTE, NC — It’s a few days before Emanuel Wilson is due in the Denver Broncos minicamp, and he’s back in a familiar place.

Wilson started his college career in Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith University, before finishing it at Fort Valley State. He’s back on Beaties Ford Rd., getting in some reps before he heads for the Rockies in an attempt to get another shot at training camp with the Broncos. 

A few weeks earlier, Wilson was one of hundreds of players who hoped to hear their name called at the NFL Draft, but never got the pleasure. Wilson says the process was difficult, but staying patient was the key. 

“I was waiting for the sixth and seventh round — I didn’t get picked up. But my agent called me and said I had offers from this many teams, and I just chose the Denver Broncos because I felt like I had a great opportunity of making the 53-man roster.”

As a running back from a Division II HBCU, making that roster will likely require Wilson to play on special teams. It’s something that the 6’1, 220 pound back got a lot of reps on in post-season showcase games with the NFLPA Bowl and HBCU Legacy Bowl. 

“Going there just made me realize that I’m not going to be able to be the star right now. Going into minicamp and everything like that. I’m really just…a freshman. Coming in, I’m going to have to work my butt off to actually get on special teams.”

Emmanuel Wilson,
Emanuel Wilson is prepping for Denver Broncos minicamp. (Wali Pitt/HBCU Gameday photo)

Emanuel Wilson has been a star since he got to college.

As a freshman in 2019 he accumulated 1,040 yards on 159 rushes for the 19th-best yard per carry average of 6.5 yards in the nation (D2)to go with his 13 touchdowns. Wilson also pulled in 13 passes for 86 yards for 1,126 yards of total offense on 172 touches of the football. He left JCSU after one season and landed at Fort Valley State. But he wouldn’t play again for two years as the SIAC sat out the 2020 season.

The 2021 season showed he didn’t have any rust, as he rushed for 119 yards and one score per game in seven appearances. He showed up for the 2022 season on a mission, as he rushed for 1,371 yards, 17 TDs in just 10 games last season. Now he’ll look to make an impact with the Denver Broncos.

Wilson knows he’s got his work cut out for him because of the places he’s played — but he doesn’t think any less of his talent because he didn’t play Power Five or Division I ball. 

“I feel like D1 is just a name. It doesn’t matter where you are at. If you can play ball, you can play ball.”

Denver Broncos RB Emanuel Wilson looking to show labels don’t matter
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