FRISCO, Texas — There may not be any pass-catching target on the Texas Longhorns’ big board more important than Calabasas (Calif.) star Johnny Wilson.
Of the 13 wide receivers with a Texas offer in hand, only Tomball product and Texas A&M pledge Demond Demas ranks higher, with the 247Sports Composite slotting Wilson as a top-25 talent nationally and as a top-five receiver — rankings validated by the five-star talent earning a trip to the Opening Finals.
“I’ve just been enjoying my time out here,” Wilson told BON’s Joe Hamilton. “The Opening, they have a great camp going on here so it’s a great experience. I get to learn a lot from some of the older guys.”
The Opening Finals included, Wilson has spent nearly as much time in the Lone Star State as he has at home throughout the previous 30-plus days, largely because it’s quite possible that the Lone Star State is his home by this time next year.
On June 1, Wilson made his first unofficial trip to the Forty Acres. Three short weeks later, Wilson returned to Austin to partake in Texas’ Heat Wave pool party festivities, only this time around, he didn’t return home when the weekend capped.
Rather, Wilson’s second trip to Texas lasted nearly an entire week.
“I was supposed to leave Sunday, but I talked to my mom and was like, ‘I’m enjoying my time out here and I really don’t want to go back,’” Wilson said. “So she called my grandparents and just delayed my flight and told them I wanted to come back a different day.”
“I was just out there taking everything in,” Wilson added. “I got to talk to a lot of the players there and a lot of the receivers, especially the incoming freshmen that just came in. They really said when you get here, it’s a grind. For me personally, I like structure so the program they’ve got over there would be great for me.”
As if it weren’t already apparent, Wilson’s interest in the Horns is quite legitimate. That much was at least somewhat evident in late January when Wilson listed Texas in his top five, long before getting a first-hand look at what the Longhorns had to offer.
But now that he has experienced Austin, Wilson’s interest has only intensified.
“That visit was kind of top-level,” Wilson said of his near week-long stay in Austin. “I’m like, ‘when I come back here again, how much more fun can I have? How much more can I learn?’ Texas is just up there.”
And Wilson will be back.
He isn’t sure on a specific date just yet, but Wilson plans to return to the Forty Acres during the season for an official visit, which could serve as the final opportunity for Texas to separate itself from his other finalists — Oregon, UCLA, and Washington.
How exactly can Texas do that?
As has been the case with numerous Texas receiver targets throughout the previous two cycles, Wilson will keep a close eye on how the Longhorns utilize their big receivers.
“As long as they keep playing big receivers and showing me that if I did come there, I could really have a chance to show them what I can do on the outside,” the 6’6, 220-pound Wilson said, noting that he’s playing close attention to what Texas does with redshirt freshman receiver Malcolm Epps, who boasts similar size at 6’6, 245 pounds.
One wouldn’t need to look beyond the Forty Acres for a glimpse at what Wilson would potentially look like in the Longhorns offense. From the California background to the 6’6 size to the film, Wilson has drawn undeniable comparisons to current Longhorns star receiver Collin Johnson.
Oregon is arguably still the team to beat for the elite California talent, but when it’s all said and done, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Longhorns are able to lure Wilson away from the West Coast.