The Saints selected Illinois LB Martez Wilson with the 72nd selection of the 2011 NFL Draft Friday night.
One of the most coveted defenders in the country coming out of high school, the 2010 season saw Wilson live up to those lofty expectations. He earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors in 2010, a season that catapulted him among the top inside linebacker prospects eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Illini defense started off strong but struggled in midseason during the 2010 campaign. As a team leader, he worked hard to help his teammates regain their edge. By the end of the year, the Illini unit finished 38th in the nation in total defense (351.31 ypg), 32nd in rush defense (130.77 ypg) and 48th in scoring defense (23.46 ppg). These numbers represented a vast improvement from the 2009 season, when Wilson missed the majority of the year with an injury and was granted a medical redshirt. Without their defensive leader, Illinois ranked 91st nationally in total defense (403.25 ypg), 76th in rush defense (154.42 ypg) and 96th in scoring defense (30.17 ppg) with Wilson sidelined.
At Simeon Career Academy, Wilson was a consensus five-star prospect. Parade, USA Today, Super Prep and Prep Star All-American was rated the second-best defensive end prospect in the nation by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. He was ranked sixth on the ESPN Top-150 list and rated the 21st-best player in the country by Prep Star. The Champaign News-Gazette first-team All-State pick was regarded as the best player in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press. Rivals.com rated him the state of Illinois' top prep prospect and 22nd overall on their national ranking chart. He was a member of the Chicago Tribune All-State and Chicago Sun-Times All-Public League and All-Area teams. Hewas also named Super Prep's Midwest Defensive Player of the Year.
Wilson added Super Prep Elite 50 honors after he finished his senior season with 240 tackles, seven sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. On offense, he made 42 catches for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns. As a junior, he earned All-Metro honors from the Chicago Sun-Times, as he compiled 99 tackles, 20 for loss, 18 sacks, seven forced fumbles and an interception in 2005. He also ran track, specializing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Wilson earned Freshman All-American honors while serving as a reserve strong-side outside linebacker in 2007. Playing behind Antonio Steele, he posted 29 tackles (15 solos) with a pair of sacks, two pressures and three stops behind the line of scrimmage.
As a sophomore, he finished third on the team with 73 tackles (38 solos). He added three sacks with 5.5 stops for loss and five pressures. He also caused a fumble, recovered two others and broke up three passes.
Wilson earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors as a junior, quickly adjusting to life at his new position – middle linebacker. He led the team and ranked fourth in the league with a career-best 112 tackles (47 solos). He finished second on the squad with four sacks and 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, also coming up with four pressures. He recorded the first interception for his career, blocked a punt and caused three fumbles while recovering another.
Started 21-of-38 games at Illinois – eight at strong-side outside linebacker and 13 at middle linebacker…Recorded 223 tackles (1023 solos) with nine sacks for minus 62 yards, 20.0 stops for losses totaling 90 yards and eleven QB pressures…Had three fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles, eight pass deflections and an interception while also blocking one punt.
Earned All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report and media, adding second-team honors from the league's coaches…Shifted to middle line-backer, starting all 13 games…Led the team for the first time at Illini with a career-high 112 tackles (47 solos), ranking fourth in the conference with an average of 8.62 tackles per game…Placed second on the squad with four sacks for minus 30 yards and 11.5 stops for losses totaling 48 yards, as his average of 0.88 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game ranked ninth in the Big Ten…Caused three fumbles and recovered another…Deflected four passes and had his only career interception vs. Michigan…Also blocked a punt that he advanced 6 yards in the Indiana contest…Part of a unit that allowed 351.31 yards in total defense, 130.77 yards vs. the ground attack and 23.46 points per game…Made 96 plays vs. the ground game, making 18 of those stops inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays, as six of those hits came on third down and two others were on fourth down.
Granted a medical hardship.
Appeared in 11 games, starting vs. Missouri, Eastern Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Penn State, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin at strong-side outside linebacker…Ranked third on the team with 73 tackles (38 solos) that included three sacks for minus 19 yards, 5.5 stops for losses of 26 yards and five QB pressures…Recovered a pair of fumbles and caused another…Also deflected three passes…Part of a defense that allowed 350.33 total yards, 152.92 rushing yards and 26.58 points per game.
Earned Freshman All-American honorable mention…Appeared in all 13 games as a reserve behind Antonio Steele at strong-side outside linebacker…Finished with 29 tackles (15 solos) that included two sacks for minus 13 yards, three stops for losses of 16 yards and a pair of quarterback pressures…Also deflected one pass.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.58 in the 40-yard dash…1.54 10-yard dash…2.62 20-yard dash…4.37 20-yard shuttle…11.59 60-yard shuttle…7.22 three-cone drill…31-inch vertical jump…9'7" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times.
Attended Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) Career Academy, playing football for head coach Jesse Chick…Consensus five-star prospect…Parade, USA Today, Super Prep and Prep Star All-American…Rated the second-best defensive end prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com…Ranked sixth on the ESPN Top-150 list and rated the 21st-best player in the country by Prep Star…Champaign News-Gazette first-team All-State pick…Regarded as the best player in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press…Rivals.com rated him the state of Illinois' top prep prospect and 22nd overall on their national ranking chart…Member of the Chicago Tribune All-State and Chicago Sun-Times All-Public League and All-Area teams…Named Super Prep's Midwest Defensive Player of the Year…Added Super Prep Elite 50 honors after he finished his senior season with 240 tackles, seven sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery…On offense, he made 42 catches for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns...As a junior, he earned All-Metro honors from the Chicago Sun-Times, as he compiled 99 tackles, 20 for loss, 18 sacks, seven forced fumbles and an interception in 2005…Also ran track, specializing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Sports Management major…Son of Kyica Burton…Born Martez Jerome Wilson on 9/21/88 in Chicago, Illinois.