FRISCO — Texas doesn’t hold a commitment yet from a wide receiver in the 2020 class. The Longhorns missed on in-state targets Demond Demas and Troy Omeire. A similar situation last cycle forced them to cast a wider net, eventually signing Marcus Washington from Missouri and Jake Smith from Arizona. Texas’ top priority outside of the state for 2020 is five-star wide receiver Johnny Wilson of Calabasas High School in California.
The Longhorns aren’t strangers in California. Texas signed a pair of products from there in 2019. Tom Herman’s roots began on the West Coast. The best receiver on the team, Collin Johnson, is from California. And like Johnson, Wilson is a large target (6-6) with a unique skill set. Texas likes tall targets on the outside. It proved that by moving Malcolm Epps from tight end to wide receiver wants he was on campus.
“It’s big for me because I know I’ll stay at wide receiver if I pick Texas,” Wilson said at The Opening Final. “Some schools think I’ll become a tight end. Coach (Drew) Mehringer has always emphasized that Texas wants me as a wide receiver. That’s been the main thing discussed since I began showing interest in Texas.”
It’s hard to imagine the interest isn’t mutual. Wilson visited Texas twice in June and plans to take an official visit during the season. He returned to Austin for Texas’ Heat Wave event, bringing along his mother. Wilson ended up staying a few extra days once she returned home on Sunday. Wilson is long-time friends with UT linebacker and Los Angeles native De’Gabriel Floyd.
“It’s a great town and a great place to be,” Wilson said. “The people there are amazing. I was welcomed so well the first time I visited, and I wanted my mom to get that same experience so we visited again. Everyone seems to be working toward the same goal. They said it was a grind and I feel like we all connected really well.”
It might be a two-team race between Oregon and Texas for Wilson’s commitment. He plans to pledge during his senior season after a few official visits. UCLA and Washington are also in the mix. Distance won’t be a factor for Wilson because his family isn’t opposed to leaving California and following him to a new location.
“My parents and grandparents have discussed moving before, so that could be something that they can do if I move. They can come with me,” he said.
Mookie Cooper is another out-of-state target. The one-time Texas commit was teammates with Washington at Trinity Catholic in St. Louis before Washington signed with the Longhorns last December and enrolled at Texas this summer. Cooper has maintained that his de-commitment from Texas this spring was less about the Longhorns and more about enjoying the recruiting process. Texas remains in his top five.
“Texas assistant Bryan Carrington was one of the first guys to really recruit me. He’s a special guy to me and someone I’m close with. I just wasn’t ready to shut it down completely at the time,” Cooper said at The Opening. “Texas is a school I plan on taking an official visit to this season.”
Cooper is a four-star slot receiver with big-play potential. St. Louis doesn’t get the credit it deserves for producing high-end football talent. Cooper hopes to be among the group that changes that perception, and events like The Opening Final provide the platform to prove his worth among the country’s top-rated prospects.
“It’s a lot of people behind me rooting for me to put on for the city because most of our talent gets slept on,” Cooper said. “If guys like me can perform at the top levels, it’ll help the young guys in the city get more looks because the college recruiters will go visit more schools in our area.”