UCLA has had an underwhelming summer from a recruiting standpoint, but received a bit of positive news Tuesday with a new verbal commitment.
Three-star defensive back Chris Wilson out of Hitchcock, Texas, announced his college decision, choosing the Bruins over offers from Iowa State and Texas A&M, among others. The 6-foot, 186-pound prospect became the fourth member of UCLA's recruiting class, which has suffered six defections in this cycle, most recently from fellow three-star defensive back Jeffrey Manning.
"I just felt like UCLA would be the best place for me to play," Wilson told Bruin Report Online. "I'm high on coach (Demetrice) Martin's list right now just talking to him. He's a cool coach to talk to. He's chill and not all straight on the line. I just like him as a coach.
"They want me to play strong safety, free safety and cornerback. It sounds good because I play corner already, and I've played both safety spots, too, so it's a good fit for me."
Wilson, who transferred to Hitchcock from Dickinson this offseason, landed the UCLA offer on July 23 and said he is set to visit Los Angeles in two weeks. He's never been to the campus before, but felt comfortable enough with Martin to know where he wants to play his college ball.
Scout's recruiting expert in Texas, Gabe Brooks, said this about Wilson: Chris Wilson is an aggressive safety prospect who possesses skills that could fit the traditional free or strong positions at the FBS and most likely Power Five conference level. At 6-foot-1, Wilson possesses a good frame and ample length that suggest he will add significant bulk once he's in college. He's a willing and able tackler who often looks for the big hit in coverage. Wilson plays with awareness and does a good job locating the ball from the back end of the defense, whether that's patrolling the deep portion or crashing to the flats. Wilson plays faster than he tests and he flashes good closing speed to help in his ability to break on balls and deliver those aforementioned hits. Wilson can improve his overall fluidity and lateral mobility. If his change-of-direction skills and ability to flip his hips improve, he'll be a well-rounded safety at the next level. Overall, Wilson is a promising safety prospect with an above average frame and a fairly high ceiling.
On June 9th, Brooks talked about Wilson after seeing him at a camp: Speaking of good defensive backs, Hitchock (Texas) 2017 safety Chris Wilson, who played last year at nearby Dickinson High School, was outstanding as well. He passed the eyeball test at Monday’s registration and backed it up with a strong performance in Tuesday’s on-field action. He could be a player who could rack up some offers in the near future.
The Bruins have been relatively successful recruiting Texas the last few years, landing the likes of Soso Jamabo, Eldridge Massington, Deon Hollins, William Lockett and, most recently, running back Brandon Stephens and wide receiver Adewale Omotosho.
"I feel like that's cool to have guys from Texas going there," Wilson said. "Going there from Texas is a huge step for me, but I think I can take the challenge. It's UCLA. It's California and that's something I couldn't turn down. I'll be there in two weeks to see them in camp."
Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, Oklahoma and TCU have also been expressing interest this summer, and Wilson said he intends to maintain an open mindset this season, though he's excited to be committed.
"The school, where it's at, and the defense and how I fit, everything is great," Wilson said. "It's in the Pac-12. Playing in that conference for me will be good as a defensive back."