HOUSTON, Texas -- There's a thing that tends to happen when reporters ask Houston Episcopal defensive tackle Marvin Wilson about the schools standing out to him or other open-ended questions -- he'll mention the LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Florida State Seminoles as programs that will eventually make the cut for him, but he doesn't typically mention the Texas Longhorns until prompted.
To be clear, that doesn't mean that the Longhorns out of the running, Wilson will say when pressed, there's just some room to make up now after the positive Texas vibes of late 2014 gave way to on-field struggles and the 6'4, 329-pounder was able to take visits to other schools like the three that currently occupy the top of his list.
The good news is that Wilson told Burnt Orange Nation at the Houston The Opening Regional camp on Sunday that he will "for sure" visit Texas in the near future. If it doesn't happen for the Orange-White game on April 16, Wilson will make that trip during the summer.
As with many prospects in the 2017 class, Wilson will be keeping an eye on whether Texas shows progress this season.
"It's coaching stability and seeing how the season goes [with the Texas schools]," Wilson told SB Nation. "I'll wait to see what they do this season to see what impact that will have on my recruiting."
The dismissal of defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn after National Signing Day this year probably didn't help the Longhorns because Vaughn was Wilson's area recruiter, but defensive coordinator Vance Bedford took over and head coach Charlie Strong has made Wilson a focus of his efforts, as well.
"Every day he gives me different things that can help me improve as a person and a player," Wilson said.
The relationship that the consensus five-star prospect has with Bedford and Strong has helped Texas stay in the mix for his services. Helping Wilson improve on the personal level is a key factor in his recruitment that could eventually play a role in his decision, but he's also looking for early playing time. And while the big defensive tackle class in 2016 isn't doing the 'Horns any favors, Wilson is confident enough in his ability that he's not too worried about depth charts.
When Wilson releases a top 10 this summer, the Longhorns should make the list, and will likely make his top five before his senior season. However, that's purely speculation the three schools mentioned at the open are the only current locks for his top five or to receive official visits before he decides on National Signing Day.
Fortunately, Strong is developing a well-earned reputation for closing well with top prospects and there was a time when the Longhorns occupied a much more favorable position with the nation's best defensive tackle.