The recruitment of four-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson is winding down, and the next two weeks will likely tell the tale as Urban Meyer and Tom Herman continue their duel for the nation's No. 6 wideout.
A top target for both programs, Wilson has seen plenty of Ohio State and Texas of late. The 6-foot, 185-pounder doesn't have to travel too far to hit up the home of the Longhorns as Lake Travis High School is only about 20 miles west of the campus. He checked out a Texas spring practice last week and was at Ohio State in late March for an unofficial.
Having spent his childhood in Dublin, there's certainly a sense of familiarity with Columbus as well. It doesn't hurt the Buckeyes' chances that early enrollee Matthew Baldwin is Wilson's friend and former quarterback from when the duo played together for the Cavaliers.
Ohio State's success on the field and its use of "Real Life Wednesdays" have also been on the mind of the star receiver.
“It’s still a top program like it was when I was coming up, and every year they are a legit contender,” Wilson told Eleven Warriors when asked what stands out about the Buckeyes. “They’ve got it all figured out.”
“[They said] that this is a place that’s gonna set me up to be able to get drafted,” Wilson said. “But then if it doesn’t go like that — which it mostly doesn’t — they can set me up with jobs and have connections for me to be successful after football.”
Urban Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff have been no strangers to the state of Texas. There's a very real chance that the team will have five starters from the Lone Star State when the 2018 season kicks off. J.K. Dobbins, Demetrius Knox, Kendall Sheffield, Baron Browning, and Jeffrey Okudah all will be featured heavily this fall.
The 2017 class was when the Buckeyes really went deep into Texas in signing Okudah, Browning, Dobbins, and Sheffield (via Alabama). That class was notorious among Longhorn fans as the state's top program failed to sign a single one of its top 18 prospects.
The arrival of Tom Herman has changed things, however.
Herman was named the Longhorns' new head coach on Nov. 26 of 2016 (the same day this happened), and his message – at least on the recruiting front – has thus far been heard loud and clear. Texas signed 11 of the state's top 15 prospects for the Class of 2018, and a number of those – such as four-star cornerback Anthony Cook – were players the Buckeyes were also targeting.
The Longhorns finished the season with a 7-6 record, but it's important to remember that Herman was basically running a team that has been devastated by the Charlie Strong regime. He's certainly hoping for more this fall, and several members of the 2018 class will be called upon early and often
Switching back to the 2019 class, both Texas and Ohio State are in the running for several top wideouts. The Longhorns, however, already have a pledge from the country's No. 4 player at the position in Cuero, Texas' Jordan Whittington. The Buckeyes have yet to land a wideout, but with three seniors on the roster it's a fair assumption that the class should end up featuring at least a trio of pass-catchers.
Garrett Wilson would be a huge addition to either class, and both programs have some different things working in their favor. The Baldwin connection isn't a bad thing for the Buckeyes and Wilson has clearly been impressed with the success under Meyer.
For the Longhorns, the proximity certainly helps as he can head over to campus pretty much any time he wants. This past week it was also announced that Lake Travis hired Texas quality control coach Will Stein to be its new offensive coordinator.
A total coincidence? Perhaps. A desperation move reminiscent to that of Jim Harbaugh? Also possible.
Next weekend will mark the first of a pair of official visits that may very well decide where the country's No. 46 prospect plays at the next level. The Buckeyes will host Wilson for the April 14th spring game. Tom Herman and the Longhorns will do the same for their April 21st scrimmage.
The "last-visit theory" is a popular one for many people who follow recruiting. In this particular instance, I really don't think that's something to read into. It certainly seems as though the reasoning behind Wilson's itinerary is simply due to each team's spring game schedule.
Ohio State's wide receiver room is slated to lose a significant amount of talent following the 2018 season. Adding a player of Wilson's caliber would go a long way in helping to replenish what should be a new-look passing attack.
He's a well-rounded wideout, and while his size doesn't blow you away, he's capable of doing pretty much everything at the position. As a junior Wilson hauled in 98 passes for 1,773 yards and 26 touchdowns while playing in the ultra-competitive Texas 6A Conference.
There's no announcement date set, but his intentions should be known shortly after the final official in late April. Tom Herman will be hoping to hang onto another one of the state's top players while Urban Meyer is looking to bring Garrett Wilson back to the Buckeye State.