Former Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox waited for his phone to ring throughout Friday evening.
After it did, the calls didn’t stop.
The first one was the biggest — the Dallas Cowboys called to let him know he was about to be a third round selection, 80th overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“I answered the phone,” Wilcox said Friday, “and I was like, ‘Hello?’ It was (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and his crew, on speakerphone. They said, ‘Are you excited?’ I just started crying.”
Wilcox, at his Cairo home with friends and family, celebrated as the calls of congratulations poured in.
When his college career started as a wide receiver, even he couldn’t have predicted this.
He went from receiver to running back at Georgia Southern before playing out his senior year as a safety.
Wilcox was second on the team at GSU in tackles in 2012 with 88. He also returned kickoffs for the Eagles, and intercepted two passes, including a pass from Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs to seal a 49-35 victory as GSU advanced to the semifinals.
Wilcox scored a rushing touchdown in his final game at GSU, against North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D., in his only offensive play of the season.
Wilcox became the highest player drafted in Georgia Southern history.