Despite ‘NFL-type ability’ and chance to start, TCU football’s Wilson calls it quits

TCU linebacker Montrel Wilson has called it quits.

Coach Gary Patterson said Wilson has left the team, and is not expected to return.

“I don’t think he’s coming back,” Patterson said following his team’s scrimmage Wednesday. “He’s a great kid. NFL-type ability. He’s got to figure it out himself. I wish him the best. He should graduate at the end of the semester and go about his business.”

Early on in fall camp, Wilson ranked as one of the feel-good stories, overcoming injuries and working with the first-team defense. Patterson raved about Wilson after one practice and envisioned the former Keller Fossil Ridge product giving the defense 15-20 snaps a game.

But that won’t happen anymore.

The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Wilson has battled injuries much of his college career after playing in 12 games, including seven starts, as a true freshman in 2015. He sustained a season-ending injury after two games in 2016 and took a redshirt.

In 2017, Wilson played in seven games, including four starts. Wilson battled injuries much of last season, but he returned and saw action in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Patterson wouldn’t elaborate on why Wilson left the team, whether for personal or injury reasons.

Patterson went on to say that the linebacker depth has taken another blow, too, with sophomore Ben Wilson dealing with an injury. Ben Wilson is expected to return at some point, but could miss the early portion of the season.

With that news, Patterson continued to talk highly of true freshman Dee Winters, a heady player for his age. Winters appears to be a strong candidate to see significant snaps as a freshman.

Sophomore La’Kendrick Van Zandt, who has gotten most of his reps at safety, is also getting linebacker reps for now. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Van Zandt is having a solid fall camp, and linebacker may be a better position for him to utilize his elite athleticism.

As Patterson said, TCU has a long history of successfully transitioning safeties into linebacker roles.

Winters and Van Zandt should give the Frogs solid options at linebacker to play alongside Garret Wallow (a former safety himself).

TCU opens the season against Arkansas- Pine Bluff on Aug. 31.

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