Alabama 5-star freshman linebacker Lyndell Wilson might have to prepare for college football while on the path to recovery.
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Wilson Plagued by Shoulder Problem
Wednesday, March 23
On Wednesday night, Wilson announced via Twitter that he tore his labrum and will undergo surgery next week.
He also disclosed that he’s had this injury for quite some time:
A timetable for a possible return has not been disclosed as of yet.
Wilson signed with the Crimson Tide on Feb. 3 as one of the best defensive recruits of the class of 2016. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Wilson was the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker in the nation, the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 15 overall prospect in the nation.
He was one of three 5-star recruits who were nabbed by the school in a recruiting class that was ranked first in the nation.
The 6’2″, 220-pound outside linebacker has exhibited above-average speed and strength, which will make him a nightmare for opposing offenses in the SEC.
According to sports surgeon Howard J. Luks, recovery from labrum surgery normally takes a minimum of eight to 12 weeks. If Wilson were to make it back within that timeline, he’d be good to go by May or June.
Freshmen rarely participate in spring practices anyway, so Wilson could very well get a clean bill of health before he graduates high school, which would give him plenty of time to get ready for the 2016 college football season.
TUSCALOOSA — Ten hours.
That’s how long Lyndell “Mack” Wilson laid on his stomach to have a tattoo artist complete a project that is healing his soul and motivating him to achieve greatness.
Wilson’s close friend Rod Scott and cousin Shaquille Johnson died within a year of each other. Scott, 17, passed away from injuries suffered in a car wreck March 4, 2016.
Johnson, 20, was shot and killed in Montgomery on Feb. 4, 2017.
The childhood friends meant everything to Wilson. They’re gone, but their spirits live within him through a tattoo tribute at the bottom of his back, one that took artist Michael Jordan 10 hours over three days in July to complete.
“He almost wanted to cry,” Jordan said. “He just smiled.”
Wilson is portrayed in his No. 30 University of Alabama uniform, arms raised to the sky, with Scott and Johnson above him in their respective Robert E. Lee High basketball and football uniforms.
“Those guys played a tremendous role in my life,” Wilson said. “Growing up with them. Learning from them. Working hard with them and stuff like that. That kind of motivates me every day to go out and compete and to go out and play hard because I know if they were here, they’d be doing the same thing.”
At the bottom of the tattoo, “My Brother’s Keeper,” is written in script.
“It means a lot to me,” said Johnson’s mom, Lashunda Powell. “It had to mean a lot to him for him to go through that pain to do it.”
Seeing her son and Scott as Wilson’s guardian angels, she explains how Wilson views them in his voice.
Carver-Montgomery coach Billy Gresham knew the scouting report on Lyndell Wilson as a middle school football player.
Big. Fast. Talented. But behaviorally? Wilson had a reputation as a problem child.
“His maturity level didn’t match his size,” Gresham said. “He was bigger than a lot of kids at the middle school and he had a lot of issues personally with himself.”
It didn’t take long for Wilson’s maturity level to catch up, thanks to his recognition of his abilities and some key mentors along the way. Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker and five-star recruit, is No. 3 on this year’s AL.com preseason A-List, the ranking of the state’s best senior prospects.
Call him ‘Mack’
Wilson has been called “Mack” by his teachers and friends all his life. He said he’s not sure how he obtained the nickname, but his mother certainly does.
Wilson’s uncle started calling him that as a baby. Lyndell was a “chunky” baby, Sandra Wilson said.
“His uncle Ricky’s daughter named him ‘Fat Mack,'” Sandra Wilson said. “He loved to eat. As he grew up, Mack just took the fat off and became known as Mack.”
But growing up wasn’t easy. Sandra Wilson said she and her husband, Lyndell’s father, divorced when he was a toddler.
Lyndell characterized his relationship with his father as “inconsistent” and said his father has been in and out of legal trouble.
Lyndell took responsibility for getting into trouble as a youngster, largely because he had no father figure.
“It was rough because I grew up in the ghetto part of the city,” Wilson said. “Growing up, I made a lot of bad decisions and I learned from that.”
Said Sandra, “He wasn’t at the age to understand what was going on. It was hard. I know divorces put a strain on the kid and make him act up in class and outbursts to get attention.
“I started talking to him and he started to realize what he had to do to make a better person of himself.”
Meeting Todd Dowell helped turn that in the right direction.
Dowell runs a foundation called “Make A Difference,” mentoring youths in Montgomery who may have had their struggles. Dowell works for the city of Montgomery’s parks and recreation department and a younger Lyndell would come to the park where he worked “mostly, just to talk.”
The two struck up a bond and now Dowell is Lyndell’s godfather.
“I didn’t have my father in my life, so he sat down and talked to my mom and stepped in my life and was being that father figure for me, leading me to the right way,” Lyndell Wilson said.
“He taught me how to be a better football player. He taught me how to think,” Lyndell added. “He taught me how to be a man. He takes a lot of pressure off me when it comes to recruiting.”
“Mr. Todd, thank God for him,” Sandra Wilson said. “He was a blessing.”
Dowell soon learned that there was a lot more to Lyndell than a troubled youth.
“He’s a care-free kid who loves fashion, photography and graphics,” Dowell said. “He just needed more of that 1-on-1 guidance. He’s grown to the point where he understands his role, understands who he is and what is expected of him and what he can do and what he can’t do.”