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Elijah Wilson, nephew of Shaquille O’Neal, is a football star
St. Monica Mariners running back Elijah Wilson, the son of boxer James Wilson and nephew of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, has impressed as a freshman, so much so that he earned his first D-I offer from the University of Arizona on Thursday. (Courtesy: James Wilson)

Elijah Wilson, nephew of Shaquille O’Neal, is a football star

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (BVM) – As only a freshman, Elijah Wilson has made a massive impact on his St. Monica Mariners football team. The running back has already put up 897 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in five games for the Mariners, showing that even at his young age he can excel at the varsity level.

“I’m feeling good,” Wilson said. “I had seen the work I was putting in and I was happy it worked out.”

This natural athleticism isn’t much of a surprise. Elijah’s dad, James Wilson, was a great running back in his own right, rushing for 309 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons at D-II Concord University before finishing his career with 748 yards and 13 scores as a senior at D-III Averett University in 2010. This happened prior to him adopting the nickname “The Beast” and beginning an MMA and boxing career.

Elijah spends a lot of time with his dad in the offseason training. This includes everything from speed and agility drills to boxing and strength training.

“He helps me because he works on [my game] every day,” Elijah said. “[Boxing] helps me with my movement, my stamina, my speed of course and my power in blocking with my hips and all that.”

While his dad definitely has some athletic pedigree, it is nothing compared to Elijah’s uncle, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, as he is known, was named to 15 NBA All-Star games, was a two-time scoring champion, won four championships, was a three-time NBA Finals MVP and won the 1999-2000 MVP over 19 seasons in the league, spending most of his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.

O’Neal even helped his nephew to get his name out nationally. The basketball legend posted about Elijah and even encouraged his former college, LSU, to start recruiting him.

“Attention all college recruiters especially @lsufootball get your popcorn ready. This is what you call running angry/ running with a purpose. my nephew @elijah.wilson.official is going beastmode in the backfield and he is only a freshman starting on varsity,” O’Neal wrote on Instagram.

“I was happy because he shouted me out,” Elijah said. “I have a big support from him.”

College programs have also taken notice. On Thursday, Elijah earned his first D-I offer from the University of Arizona.

“It was a very happy moment because it was my first offer as a freshman so I was really excited about that,” Elijah said. “Arizona was the first one to recruit me and so I was very happy about that. It’s only the beginning, I have way more to go.”

Elijah has big goals for himself going forward including rushing for over 2,000 yards and winning a title. Given the dedication to his craft, his one-of-a-kind athletic genes and his early success, expect more from Elijah as he continues to grow his game for the Mariners over the next few years.

Elijah Wilson Santa Monica Mariners football Shaq nephew
Elijah feels it is “only the beginning” of his D-I recruiting journey. (Courtesy: James Wilson)

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