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Alumni Spotlight: Dustin Wilson goes from the defensive backfield to internet stardom

Photo: Robert Greeley.
Photo: Robert Greeley.

As Dustin Wilson, wrapped up his five years playing defensive back for the Gee-Gees football team, his career was at a crossroads. Weighing the next step in his life, he decided to take to YouTube and ended up becoming a star. 

Growing up in Ottawa, Wilson was a promising young football talent at St. Patrick's H.S. with the Fighting Irish. As one of the best defensive back prospects in the city, his speed and awareness for the position earned him an offer from his hometown Gee-Gees.

In 2011, Wilson made an immediate impact to the Ottawa lineup, suiting up in each game of his freshman season for the Garnet and Grey. Registering a respectful 11 tackles, four pass breakups, one interception, and a fumble recovery in his rookie campaign.

Following his first season, Wilson remained a consistent presence in the Gee-Gees lineup. Heading into his fourth year of eligibility, he was selected to attend the East-West Bowl, earmarked as a player to watch for the following year's Canadian Football League Draft.

His final season with the Gee-Gees was a successful one, posting a career high in tackles. However, with the conclusion of the year, football was starting to be a less apparent piece of Wilson's future.

The Human Kinetics graduate was contemplating following a path to medical school, however at the same time, a group of his close friends were getting into YouTube. This is where Wilson decided to take a chance and start his own channel.

Wilson with the Gee-Gees in 2015.

Posting frequently with new outlandish ideas, Dustin Wilson became "JustDustin". After a first viral video had his momentum growing, he hit his first one million subscribers after eight months. This benchmark made apparent that YouTube could be Wilson's fulltime job.

Wilson has gained significant notability for his 100 layer wall videos, where he comically breaks a wall built with various substances or objects. Though the 100 layer wall videos are his bread and butter, some other popular videos include documenting buying $1000 worth of lost travel luggage, and spraying his entire body in Line-X protective coating.

Throughout his rise, he remains a proud supporter of the Gee-Gees program and reflects on the lessons he learned with the Gee-Gees that now helps him succeed in the world of online creators.

"Resilience and time management skills gained from football are probably the two biggest things that helped me in my YouTube career," he said. "Just like in football the highs are high, but the lows can be low."

Most recently, Wilson hit the three million subscriber mark and is continuing to climb higher in the YouTube world.

"You can work extremely hard in the pursuit of a starting spot, championship, or viral video and for whatever reason, fair or not come up short. Football teaches you to review your mistakes, adapt and keep pushing forward."