After watching sure-handed wide receiver Jomo Wilson consistently wreck secondaries throughout the Arena Football League this season, San Antonio Talons head coach Lee Johnson has come up with a catchy nickname for him.
"He's the DB Slayer," Johnson said Tuesday.
Defensive backs around the AFL who have been frustrated by Wilson's ability to get open and make big catch after big catch probably would concur, albeit grudgingly.
Tapping into the chemistry he has with prolific quarterback Aaron Garcia, his teammate in Jacksonville the previous two seasons, Wilson has played a key role in the Talons' success this year.
Quicker than he is fast and as crafty as he is athletic, Wilson ranks among the best receivers in the AFL with 74 catches for 1,132 yards and 32 touchdowns.
The Talons (13-3) will be counting on Wilson to continue his torrid pace when they face the Arizona Rattlers (12-4) in a key game at 7 p.m. Friday at the Alamodome. The Rattlers routed San Antonio 68-34 when the teams met April 22 in Phoenix but the Talons haven't lost since then, reeling off 10 consecutive victories.
Wilson was among several Talons starters who missed the game against Arizona because of injuries.
Wilson: Loss to Rattlers brought Talons together
The Talons, who won the Central Division title with a 61-54 victory against the Chicago Rush on Sunday, can clinch the No. 1 seed in the National Conference and home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs with a win over the Rattlers.
"Guys have been working hard since the preseason to get to this point," Wilson said after Tuesday's workout. "We've put ourselves in a good position, but we're still not there. We've won 10 straight games and we're looking for No. 11."
Wilson said the lopsided loss to the Rattlers galvanized the Talons, who split their first six games before starting their winning streak.
"That loss hurt," he said. "When you lose, it doesn't feel good. Nobody likes losing. Ever since then, we turned it around. Everybody stepped up in a major way, and everybody held themselves accountable. It was like, 'I'm not going to let the team down.'
"Every individual made a decision that he was going to contribute to the team, and then it became a team thing. We didn't want to feel like that again. We've been tearing it up ever since."
While Wilson's physical skills are obvious, his attitude, intelligence and commitment to help his team win have earned him the respect of his teammates and coaches.
"Jomo is very smart," Johnson said. "He doesn't say very much. You ask him to do special teams, and he's 100 miles an hour. He's a phenomenal athlete and he plays hard. When guys play the way he plays and don't talk very much, those are special guys.
"He runs great routes. He knows how to run them, what tempo to run them. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he's special. He's also powerful."
Wilson helped Jacksonville win AFL title last year
Wilson, 6 feet and 205 pounds, was a quarterback in high school before becoming a wide receiver at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., where he was born and raised.
After two seasons at San Joaquin, a junior college, Wilson signed with the University of Toledo but never played with the Rockets. He completed his career at Eastern Oregon in 2006, and began playing in the AF2, the AFL's developmental league, in 2007.
Wilson spent two seasons with the Fresno Central Valley Coyotes and one with the Boise Burn before signing with Jacksonville in 2010, when the AFL resumed playing after suspending operations in 2009.
Wilson, 28, has excelled playing in the indoor league by concentrating as much on the mental aspects of the game as the physical.
"You just have to know the angles of the game and make quick decisions, because you don't have too much time," Wilson said. "When you run routes, you want to make it was easy as possible for your quarterback to get you the ball. A.G. and I already know what we want to do, and the majority of the time we're going to be successful."
Wilson and Garcia signed with the Talons, who moved from Tulsa, Okla., to San Antonio last September, after helping the Jacksonville Sharks win the AFL championship in 2011.
Wilson finished last year's regular season with 131 receptions for 1,737 yards and 44 TDs.
"A.G. and I wanted to stay together and do this again, and try to win a championship somewhere else," Wilson said, referring to Garcia.
Wilson and Garcia already knew each other before their first season as teammates in Jacksonville, working out together regularly in Sacramento, Garcia's hometown, which is about 45 miles south of Stockton.
"We've probably worked out together for the last six or seven years," said Garcia, last year's AFL Offensive Player of the Year and ArenaBowl MVP. "I had been trying to get Jomo into this league for a while. He's my go-to guy. Whenever we have a crucial situation, I know who I'm going to. He's very patient. He's very cerebral."
And, as Johnson would tell you, very tough on defensive backs.