As first cousins, teammates and roommates, former Gophers Damien Wilson and David Cobb have gotten to know each other inside and out. Last October, when I visited their two-bedroom apartment on University Avenue, I asked Cobb to share something about Wilson that might surprise people.
"He likes to bake," Cobb said, chuckling. "Red-velvet cakes and cookies. I’ve got a sweet tooth, but it’s not just me. If he makes a batch of cookies, we already know -- if it's 16, he gets eight and I get eight. And that probably lasts maybe three minutes."
I caught up with Wilson on Monday and asked him if he's done any baking out in Manhattan Beach, Calif., where he and Cobb are living now, getting ready for next week's NFL Combine.
"No, no, no, no!" Wilson said. "We can’t make cookies anymore. We had to cut back on that for a while. ... Maybe after we both get drafted, we can celebrate with a batch of cookies."
Wilson said he and Cobb have been working out six days per week. They are up at 7 each morning for elaborate workouts in Carson, Calif., at the Exos training complex, which was formerly known as API (Athletes Performance Institute).
The 6-2 Wilson shed 10 pounds before his senior season and played at 240 pounds last year. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and ranked third in the conference with 9.2 tackles per game.
Wilson has been working to add more explosiveness, but he's maintaining his weight at 240.
"[Linebackers] in the NFL have a wide range," he said. "Some guys are playing at 265. Some are playing at 220-230. I feel like 240 is about perfect for me. I think it’s just about making plays and understanding concepts at the next level and being able to move around comfortable at the weight you are at."
Ever since they were kids, Wilson and Cobb have pushed each other to be great.
"I’ll give you an example," Wilson said. "[Monday] at about 2'oclock, we had just finished our lifting workouts, and we were about to go home. Dave stopped me and said, 'Damien, come back. Let’s get some abs in.' Next thing you know we're doing 200 situps right there."
That was their old summertime routine, when they were getting ready for high school training camp.
"We push each other to do that little extra -- that 10 percent to give it 110 percent," Wilson said.
Wilson has known since December that he'd be headed for the NFL Combine, which runs Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis. He'll be joined by Cobb and former Gophers teammate Maxx Williams. Cobb continued turning heads last month at the Senior Bowl, and Williams has drawn first-round draft projections. Wilson is one of those players who has a chance to boost his stock the most.
"It's pretty sweet, knowing I’ll get a chance to go out there and strut my stuff," Wilson said.