Roman Wilson, Wolverine

Roman Wilson, Wolverine

July 3, 2019
Roman Wilson (image via Hawaii Prep World)

Honolulu (HI) St. Louis wide receiver Roman Wilson committed to Michigan on Tuesday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Oregon, UCLA, Washington, and Wisconsin, among others.

Wilson is listed at 6’0″ and 180 lbs. He recently ran a 4.37 forty and a 3.96 shuttle with a 39″ vertical. He had 32 receptions for 803 yards and 7 touchdowns as a junior in 2018.

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #55 WR
Rivals: 3-star, 5.7 grade, #76 WR
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #43 WR, #218 overall

Hit the jump for more.

Wilson, whose parents are both from Michigan, was offered by the Wolverines in early May. At the beginning of June, the family took a trip to the mainland for visits to UCLA, Michigan, and then Oregon. After those visits and apparently a sufficient enough window to decide, he picked the Wolverines.

Wilson has excellent speed, obviously. Anyone who can register repeated laser-timed attempts in the 4.32-4.45 range is going to be tough to deal with for opponents. Wilson’s high school experience has been with a version of the Air Raid offense, where he plays an outside receiver spot; since Michigan will likely use some Air Raid concepts under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, Wilson should fit nicely. I see him fitting in as an outside receiver.

My primary question with Wilson is this: Why only 32 receptions? Maybe it was because St. Louis outscored opponents 554-164 on the way to a 12-0 record and a state championship, so the team didn’t need their FBS wide receiver to do more than that. Maybe he dealt with a nagging injury. Maybe he had issues catching the ball. I don’t know the answer, but 32 receptions isn’t a ton. This is nit-picking a high school offense, though.

Overall, Wilson is a good pickup for the Wolverines. I’m going to throw out a Michigan comparison that you might not hear often, but he reminds me of Mercury Hayes. Hayes had some big-play ability and had the strength to muscle through some defenders, which I think Wilson will develop. And Hayes developed into a 5th round NFL draft pick (#135 overall).

Michigan now has two wide receivers in the 2020 class, where Wilson joins A.J. Henning. The Wolverines brought in several wide receiver prospects in 2019, but there’s the potential to lose several after 2019, too, with a stellar junior class (Tarik Black, Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones) looking at possible NFL futures.

Michigan has only had two players on its historical roster from the State of Hawaii, and apparently neither one lasted past his freshman year. William Crockett was on the roster in 1945, and John Althouse was on the team in 1985.

TTB Rating: 78 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Jul 03, 2019 at 7:53 AM

    I always thought the the funnest thing in all of sports must be the ability to just outrun people. Although big would be pretty cool too.

    Alas … neither.

    The DB at 1:02 looks like he can run a bit too.

  2. Comments: 523
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Jul 03, 2019 at 9:41 AM

    “My primary question with Wilson is this: Why only 32 receptions?”

    I’m sitting here thinking about what statistic would best answer that question. If he was only targeted 32 times, and he caught all 32, that would say the problem is not *him* but something else. If he was targeted 200 times, but only made 32, then the question becomes whether the balls thrown his way were catchable. Maybe he tended to outrun the QB’s ability to hit him? Or maybe Wilson is not that good at adjusting his stride so ball meets man?

    Perhaps there’s a proxy stat that would give a hint: is there easy access to the stats on the QB and his completion percentage? Maybe that QB throws up a ton but isn’t very accurate.

  3. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 03, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    Yeah, 32 isn’t a lot. That’s a good point. From what I can see he needs to work on his breaks and is probably quite raw overall. You can coach speed so you steal it when it’s there. If you take enough of these type of big-play targets eventually someone is going to hit.

    Wilson reminds me of a smaller Drake Harris (though I would love him to be Mercury Hayes). Harris had some great highlights but poor hamstrings. They even look alike! The difference was Harris was ALWAYS targeted and seemed to run away from people. Wilson just runs away from people and looks smoother doing it. They both had good vision and cut against the pursuit to utilize their speed. This is negated quite a bit in college because the other players are so much faster. Regardless, I really like this pickup. He’s not huge but you don’t have to be if you have other intangibles. Before reading Thunder’s write up I had Wilson at 77 so I’m lock-step with TTB rating.

  4. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Jul 03, 2019 at 8:00 PM

    I thought it was an interesting question about 32 catches, so I tried to figure it out.

    I didn’t. But I thought that this was pretty interesting.

    Unless St Louis is something different from St. Louis School, the top five kids in the state are all on the same team. Last year they had 4 in the top 20 along with this monster class. I’m with Thunder in thinking they called off the dogs in the second half.

  5. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Jul 03, 2019 at 9:37 PM

    We need speed. That alone should be enough for over 80 on the ratings

  6. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 04, 2019 at 12:41 PM

    Need doesn’t dictate rating. But, yes, they do need speed!

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Jul 04, 2019 at 3:56 PM

      It should impact ratings when the key attribute our OC seeks, this kid has an abundance of. Can he catch? I hope so!

  7. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 05, 2019 at 3:05 AM

    That’s like saying your pitching staff needs someone who throws 100 mph because they lack consistent velocity. However, if that pitcher who throws 100 mph can’t locate the pitch (or catch the ball) or have at least a secondary pitch (route running) then they are of no use. Which is why we are grading the full package and not the main component. Matt Anderson threw 100 mph but sucked as a pitcher.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 05, 2019 at 6:28 AM

      I have to disagree with you a little bit there. You have to look at how players fit into the rest of your team.

      Matt Anderson might not have been good on his own, but you do want a guy who can come in and throw an intimidatingly fast heater. If for no other reason, you want to mess with the other teams’ timing. If Jamie Moyer is your starter throwing 87 MPH, you want a reliever who can speed things up after seven innings.

      If Chris Johnson is your starting running back, you want a thumper as the #2 or #3 back.

      And if all of your receivers are Greg Mathews-type possession guys, you want someone with speed who can take the top of the defense off and open things up for Mathews underneath.

      That combination is, in my opinion, what made Edwards/Breaston/Avant so dangerous at Michigan. You had the speedster in Breaston, the possession guy in Avant, and the do-everything guy in Edwards. If it had been three Breastons, the possession-type catches would have been more of a struggle, because Breaston’s hands and route-running weren’t great. If it had been three Avants, you would never get any big plays. And if it had been three Edwardses, you would get a ton of frustrating drops.

    • Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jul 05, 2019 at 7:49 AM

      The point is that you recruit speed because you can’t teach it or acquire it. You can teach a guy with a 100 mph fastball to get the ball over the plate, or to throw a variety of pitches. You can’t teach a guy with great control and a mediocre fastball to throw 100 mph. Doesn’t mean every guy with speed will turn out well, but it’s worth taking a flyer on. The real question is whether this coaching staff can learn how to use speed to its fullest. So far, they haven’t.

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Jul 05, 2019 at 6:25 PM

      I’ve read a lot of online posts EJ, but this here ranks as one of the most obsurd ever

  8. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 05, 2019 at 11:07 AM

    I think both of you missed my point. I was stating that RATING a player based on speed alone isn’t the TTB intent. Yes, speed is needed (I mentioned that) and you want a variety of players with different skill sets but that’s not how the RATING is done. You can’t rate someone an 80 automatically because the RATING system isn’t based off 1 skill it’s the whole package.

    If there was a kicker that could kick 70 yd field goals was a recruit but his accuracy was 30% from inside the 40 yd line you wouldn’t rate them an 80 would you? I hope not.

    Side note: just to clarify the Matt Anderson scenario as well, he was the #1 pick in the draft and the Tigers rated him very highly. In essence, they drafted a 1 trick pony who could never fully develop a 2nd pitch and had a violent delivery. IF the Tigs didn’t fall in love with the 1 AMAZING skill and looked at the total picture (never draft a reliever in the 1st round… which they did again with Ryan Perry 5 years later) they would have taken a more complete player.

    • Comments: 1863
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      Jul 05, 2019 at 6:30 PM

      Under your analogy, you’re assuming this kid is strictly a track star, and cannot run a route, catch the ball, block, or fend off a defender

      I don’t see that in the write-up (here or elsewhere), which is why I assumed everything else was at least decent, and came with the elite speed

  9. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 06, 2019 at 12:21 AM

    Maybe I misunderstood what you were saying…
    “We need speed. That alone should be enough for over 80 on the ratings”

    When someone says, “That alone…” makes me comment like I did. I didn’t assume anything. It’s kind of self explanatory.

    BTW – My analogy assumes nothing about being a track star. I rated him similar to Thunder because of his other skills but his speed is his biggest asset. But speed “alone” doesn’t automatically give him an 80.

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