Chris Wilson (© Greg Powers)

UCLA Commitment Analysis: Chris Wilson

Aug. 3 -- The commitment came a little out of nowhere, but Scout's recruiting experts in Texas talk glowingly about new UCLA safety commitment Chris Wilson...


Position: Safety

High School: Hitchcock (Tex.)

Height: 6-1

Weight: 190


Wilson committed to UCLA August 2nd, after being under-the-radar a bit in Texas. Many attribute that to him transferring from Dickinson (Tex.) to Hitchcock and getting a bit lost in the shuffle.  There are reports that Texas and Texas A&M had been picking it up with him since summer, and that A&M had offered. Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, Oklahoma and TCU were also expressing interest this summer. Wilson has said he's committed, but he wants to keep an open mind, so he could take official visits elsewhere.  UCLA is looking to bring in 5 to 6 defensive backs in 2017, and when Jeffrey Manning decommitted Sunday, UCLA pivoted to Wilson. He had been offered by UCLA previously, but it wasn't certain if the offer was commitable, and now it appears like it quickly became so with Manning's decommitment.  The feeling was that UCLA couldn't pass on an athlete the size and caliber of Wilson. He plans to visit UCLA in two weeks (mid-August, for fall camp).  We've heard, however, there might be an academic concern and, of course, it's always a challenge to keep out-of-state recruits committed through National Signing Day.

The Scouting Report:

Chris Wilson's Junior Highlight Reel:

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 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 has the tools that suggest he has a good amount of potential at the next level, but he may not be an immediate impact guy, mostly because he'll need to add bulk as he transitions to Power Five conference football. 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. When you watch Wilson's film or see him in an camp atmosphere, he displays both free safety and strong safety traits. He flashes the long-striding gait and impressive wingspan that taller, territory-eating free safeties often have, but there's also ample space on his frame to significantly bulk up, at which time his instincts as a hitter translate well to the strong safety position. 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. One interesting note on Wilson's potential is that he's gotten recruiting attention as a cornerback, so UCLA likely landed a player who can move around the secondary as needed, particularly the safety positions and a nickel role.

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.

Overall Analysis and Impact:

Wilson, from all scouting reports, fits the UCLA need of bigger, more physical safeties.  He's 6-1 and 190 and the scouting report projects him to easily be able to get to 210-ish, at least, after a little time in a college program. As we've been saying, UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin has been doing a good job at stocking UCLA's secondary for the future, so Wilson won't have an open starting safety spot waiting for him when he arrives as a true freshman. There are six guys currently on the roster who will still be on the safety depth chart in 2017, and only one of them (Jaleel Wadood) would be a senior. Wilson will be competing for playing time with some pretty well-hyped up-and-comers, like Adarius Pickett (who would be a redshirt junior in 2017), Octavius Spencer (junior), DeChaun Holiday (redshirt sophomore), Will Lockett (redshirt sophomore) and Brandon Burton (probably a redshirt freshman).  So, it's unlikely he makes an immediate impact. However, if you're Wilson, you have to be looking at it from a standpoint that, after Randall Goforth leaves after this season and Wadood after next season, the two starting safety spots are up for grabs.

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