Wilson was just 205 pounds at the end of his junior football season. He's attended the UCLA summer camps the last two years and was considerably shorter and smaller. So, compared to other elite junior prospects, he could be considered a late bloomer.
But, really, after all he is only a junior in high school. And, according to his father, Rick Wilson, he's young for his class, not turning 17 until July. So, actually, considering that he's 16 years old still and 6-5 and 240 pounds, you could conclude that he's an early bloomer.
Either way, because of his age, his recent physical development and how he's fared in the Nike Camps this spring, he's definitely considered a prospect to watch in the 2004 class on the west coast.
"He's in the gym six days a week," Rick Wilson said. "He's very dedicated. He's the kind of kid that you don't have to push, he just does it all on his own."
That hard work ethic has paid off. For being pretty skinny just a few months ago, Wilson is now bench-pressing 310 pounds. He did 19 reps on the bench at the Palo Alto Nike Camp and was considered by most observers, including TheInsiders.com's Greg Biggins, as the best tight end prospect at the camp, with great size, good mobility and good hands.
And he hasn't even ever played a down of varsity ball as a tight end. "Last year, he played defensive end the entire season," Rick said. "He played tight end his sophomore year on junior varsity. But this year the plan is for him to play tight end, too."
Since he hasn't played the position yet, it explains why possibly the many schools that have noticed him and have started to recruit him are taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach. As of right now, the schools showing him the most attention are UCLA, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. Since the NorCal Nike Camp, he's also heard from Washington, Washington State, California, Arizona State, Fresno State, and Oregon State. "Arizona has said they could offer him soon," Rick said. "Colorado is recruiting him pretty hard. They even sent my wife a Mother's Day card. But that's not to say UCLA has done anything. We're getting hand-written letters from them."
But the Wilsons have a long-held affinity for UCLA. "I don't know why, but you know, you kind of adopt a school as your own, and your family's. So you have a school to root for," Rick said. "It could be that every summer we used to go to Arrowhead on vacation, and it's right next to the UCLA vacation complex. We always hung out there and we grew to love UCLA. So, we naturally started cheering for UCLA, and then have gone to a few games over the years."
Wilson has also attended UCLA's summer camps the last two years, went to this year's spring scrimmage, and has gotten close to one of the hold-over coaches, who also happens to be the tight end coach, Gary Bernardi. "We know coach Bernardi pretty well," Rick said. "Chris has been to the camp the last two years so he's gotten pretty familiar with him, and the school. Coach Bernardi just called yesterday in fact."
So, when asked if his son has a favorite, Rick said, "No question. UCLA is his number one choice." Rick said his son would also say he likes Colorado, Cal and USC, even though he hasn't heard from the Trojans. "But UCLA is definitely Chris' favorite. It's where he's always wanted to go."
Does that mean if UCLA offered, would Wilson commit? "It's still pretty early," Rick said. "But if your favorite school, the one that is your dream school, offers you, it could be hard not to accept the offer."
Wilson will be attending the UCLA Junior Day this Saturday, the 31st. He also more than likely will attend probably one day of UCLA's Four-Day Camp in late June. The plan is also for Wilson to go to camps at San Diego State, Colorado and Arizona this summer.
He has a 2.8 GPA and scored around a 1,000 on his SAT.