MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU safeties coach Dontae Wright had to tell safety Anthony Wilson something no football coach ever wants to tell their player.

Wright had to command Wilson to not hit so hard.

It stemmed from one of Wilson’s first practices this summer. The team wasn’t practicing to the point of tackling, but Wilson clobbered a WVU receiver in the secondary to the shock of many on the field.

“Every day, I have to tell Anthony, “Woah, hold on buddy. That’s your teammate. You need him on Saturday,'” Wright said.

The aggressive style of play worked for Wilson during his four years at Georgia Southern, and the WVU staff hopes he can safely and effectively carry the physicality to the Power-5 level as a free safety in Morgantown.

“I’m going to stay aggressive but in a controlled way,” he said.

Wilson has the gained the reputation of being serious and studious in the film room since arriving at WVU. At Georgia Southern, Wilson learned how to properly analyze film from his defensive coordinator Will Harris, who is now an assistant secondary coach for the Los Angeles Chargers.

The classroom version of Wilson is tame, but that is not the same person that will be wearing No. 12 in the Old Gold and Blue on television screens this fall.

“When I step onto the field, I’m a whole completely different person,” he said. “Outside of the field, I’m chill [and] laid-back, but once I step onto the field, I’m a completely different person. My whole mentality changes.”

His 36 collegiate starts – and the production he saw during those games – caught the eye of Wright, but it is the old-school, smash-mouth intensity is what makes Wilson one of Wright’s favorites, even if his 5-foot-9 frame may be considered undersized.

“When he steps on them lines, it ain’t about friends,” Wright said. “It’s about getting better and making sure we’re all on the same page. So, that’s what you saw and that’s what you’re seeing right now. I love everything about Anthony Wilson: the player, the person, all of it. He’s not what you go and draw on the board, but he’s what you want in a football player.”