Frank Wilson, widely considered one of the top recruiters in college football, enters his fourth season as LSU’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator in 2012.
In four years as LSU’s recruiting coordinator, Wilson has engineered signing classes that have ranked among the top 10 in the nation three times, including a sixth-rated class in 2011 and the No. 7 class in 2013. Wilson was named Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com for his efforts in helping LSU land a top 10 class in February of 2011.
On the field, Wilson, despite not having a senior as a primary ball carrier during his three years on the staff, the Tiger running game has thrived behind the play of young players. Under Wilson, LSU has had players record 18 100-yard rushing games, eight of which came during the 2012 season.
Last year, true freshman Jeremy Hill emerged as LSU’s top back, rushing for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns in helping the Tigers to a 10-3 mark. LSU averaged 173.7 yards rushing per game with sophomore Kenny Hilliard (464 yards, 6 TDs) and juniors Michael Ford (392 yards, 5 TDs) and Spencer Ware (367 yards, 1 TD) joining Hill in the backfield for the bulk of the carries. Ware, who opted to leave LSU following his junior season, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Seahawks.
In 2011, LSU’s backfield consisted of three sophomores and a true freshman as the Tigers averaged 202 rushing yards and tied a school record with 35 rushing touchdowns. Ford led the group in 2011 with 756 yards and seven TDs, followed by Ware with 707 yards and eight scores. For the first time in school history, LSU’s backfield featured four running backs who each accounted for at least seven rushing TDs (Ware and Hilliard with 8, Ford and Alfred Blue with 7). Also, for the first time since 1997, LSU had three running backs go over the 500-yard mark in the same season (Ford, 756, Ware 707, Blue 539). LSU had four different running backs lead the team in rushing in 2011.
In 2010, junior Stevan Ridley, in his first season as a starter, rushed for 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns on his way to earning first team All-SEC honors. Ridley, who opted to forgo his senior season, went on to be drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots.
Ridley was backed up by a trio of freshmen, including Ford (244 yards, 3 TDs) and Ware, who rushed for 102 yards in the Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M.
Wilson, a native of New Orleans, joined the LSU staff after spending the 2009 season at Tennessee, where he coached wide receivers.
Prior to joining the Tennessee staff, Wilson spent the 2008 season at Southern Mississippi as running back coach and recruiting coordinator. He also served as running backs coach and special teams assistant at Ole Miss from 2005-07.
In his second year with the Rebels, Wilson’s primary pupil, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, finished third in the SEC in rushing at 83.2 yards per game. Green-Ellis was named All-SEC first team by Associated Press. Under Wilson’s tutelage, Green-Ellis finished the season with 1,000 yards, fourth on the Ole Miss season charts, and has since become a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL with the Patriots.
Wilson joined the Ole Miss staff after serving one year as Director of Athletics for the New Orleans Public School System. He served 3½ seasons as head football coach and offensive coordinator at O. Perry Walker High School in that city prior to his stint as director of athletics.
While at O. Perry Walker, Wilson led the Chargers to the 2002 Class 4A state finals and to District 10-4A championships in 2001 and 2002. He was honored by the NFL as the 2002 Coach of the Year for the state of Louisiana and was voted by his peers as the Louisiana Class 4A Coach of the Year. Wilson also was a 2002 Nike National Coach of the Year finalist.
Wilson coached the Orleans Parish All-Star team against the Jefferson Parrish All-Star team in 2002, leading his group of players to the win in the Louisiana Superdome. He also was honored as 2001 state metro area and district coach of the year.
During his three-year at O. Perry Walker, Wilson helped guide 22 players to Division I scholarships, including 11 in 2002 to rank as the nation’s largest class of Division I signees by any one high school.
Wilson spent three years as an assistant coach at Edna Karr High School, also in New Orleans, from 1997-2000. He served as offensive coordinator at Edna Karr during the 1999 season in which the team reached the Class 3A state finals and the offense recorded the best statistical season in the program’s history.
Wilson got his start in coaching as a student assistant at his alma mater, Nicholls State University, working with the running backs while he finished his degree. While at Nicholls State, Wilson helped coach the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history and was part of the biggest turnaround in NCAA history for the Colonels, who improved from 0-10 in 1995 to 8-2 in 1996.
A three-year letterman on the football team at Nicholls State, Wilson earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a running back his sophomore year. He was also named preseason all-conference as a defensive back his junior year and as a running back his senior year. Wilson attended Geneva University in Beaver Falls, Pa., his freshman season, earning conference Freshman of the Year honors as a tailback and kick returner. He also earned first team all-conference honors and was an NAIA Division II All-America honorable mention.
Wilson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in general education from Nicholls State in 1997. He then went on to earn a certificate of education in biology from Southern University in New Orleans in 2002.
Wilson and his wife, Tiffany, have three children: Alaina, Sa’bree and Frank IV.
The Frank Wilson File
YEAR AT LSU: Fourth (appointed Dec. 7, 2009)
BIRTHDATE: Nov. 5, 1973 in New Orleans
CHILDREN: Alaina, Sa’bree, and Frank IV
HIGH SCHOOL: St. Augustine High School
COLLEGE: Nicholls State, '97; Southern Univ. -New Orleans, '02
1992 - Geneva (Pa.) University (running back)
1993-95 - Nicholls State (running back/defensive back)
1996 - Nicholls State (student assistant)
1997-99 - Karr High School (assistant coach)
2000-03 - O.P. Walker High School (head coach)
2005-07 - Ole Miss (running backs/special teams)
2008 - Southern Miss (running backs/recruiting coordinator)
2009 - Tennessee (wide receivers)
2010-13 - LSU (running backs/recruiting coordinator)
YEAR, BOWL, TEAM, OPPONENT, RESULTS
2008, New Orleans, Southern Miss, Troy, W, 30-27
2010, Capital One, LSU, Penn State, L 19-17
2011, Cotton, LSU, Texas A&M, W, 41-24
2012, BCS, LSU, Alabama, L, 21-0
2012, Chick-fil-A, LSU, Clemson, L, 25-24