Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Roman Wilson. It’s only on three total receptions, but this guy has 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. One touchdown was a 61-yard catch-and-run bubble screen against Colorado State, and the other was a 42-yard bomb against Hawaii. Good things happen when you run a 4.37 forty and have ball skills. He’s already playing quite a bit, but the speed and big play ability are really enticing.
Name: Roman Wilson Height: 6’0″ Weight: 185 lbs. High school: Honolulu (HI) St. Louis Position: Wide receiver Class: Junior Jersey number: #14 Last year: I ranked Wilson #31 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He caught 25 passes for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 3 carries for 59 yards, in five starts. TTB Rating: 78
Wilson had a bit of a breakout season in 2021. He was one of four receivers to tie for the team lead with 3 touchdown catches, and he had some huge plays. He caught 2 touchdowns in a tight win over Penn State, he led the team in receiving against Ohio State, and he caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Edwards in the Big Ten Championship game. His reported 4.37 speed as a recruit started to show itself as a threat to other teams, and he established himself as a dangerous downfield threat.
I have heard some fans and analysts peg Wilson as their guess for Michigan’s leading receiver in 2022, but I can’t get there. Maybe he can do it in 2023, but Ronnie Bell returns from injury this year and Cornelius Johnson is the 6’3″ prototype who led the squad in 2021. Wilson is a key component of the passing attack, as he can take the top off the defense. But there’s only one ball and there are only so many receiving positions, so some tough decisions are going to need to be made by the coaches and the quarterback(s) on where the ball ends up going. I would expect Wilson to be Michigan’s #3 wideout, but he’ll have some big plays along the way.
Prediction: Part-time starting wide receiver; 30 catches for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns
Name: Roman Wilson Height: 6’0″ Weight: 180 lbs. High school: Honolulu (HI) St. Louis Position: Wide receiver Class: Sophomore Jersey number: #14 Last year: I ranked Wilson #56 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He caugh 9 passes for 122 yards and 1 touchdown. TTB Rating: 78
Wilson’s role in 2020 seemed up in the air going into the year, but he established himself as a reliable target with 9 catches in just six games. The freshman speedster made a nice diving catch against Indiana for a touchdown, which was the highlight of his year, but the coaching staff also gave him a handoff on an end around. Only four other true freshmen have averaged 1.5 catches or more per game since 2009 (Roy Roundtree, Jake Butt, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black), and Wilson reached 1.5 in 2020.
That bodes well for Wilson, even though he does not appear to be in line to start in 2021. The expectation is that he will be a rotation guy unless injuries happen. It’s good to have a guy like Wilson coming off the bench, a guy who can stretch the field with his speed and who has reliable hands. This probably won’t be a breakout year for him, but I expect to see continued growth, especially if the quarterback play can be more consistent.
Name: Roman Wilson Height: 6’0″ Weight: 175 lbs. High school: Honolulu (HI) St. Louis Position: Wide receiver Class: Freshman Jersey number: N/A Last year: Wilson was a senior in high school (LINK). He caught 61 passes for 1,025 yards and 11 touchdowns. TTB Rating: 78
Wilson is a speedy wide receiver who was maybe a little undervalued during the recruiting cycle because he played high school football in Hawaii. He won a state championship while putting up crazy numbers. What I like about Wilson – aside from his speed – is the fact that his highlights show a guy making plays in a variety of ways, including catches over his outside shoulder, catches lying on his back, running after the catch, etc.
I see Wilson playing on the outside more than in the slot, and because of that, I think he will spend the majority of this season as an understudy. Nico Collins and Cornelius Johnson will probably get more playing time, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ronnie Bell play a little more on the outside, too. Wilson should get his feet wet in 2020 to prepare for his sophomore season, when Collins will be off to the NFL.
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You can take a look back at the awards for the 2019 class if you want (LINK).
Best Overall Recruit: DE Braiden McGregor McGregor lost a little bit of steam in the recruiting world when his senior season ended in a fizzle after a knee injury. That doesn’t put a damper on my excitement for him, though. Michigan does a good job of developing defensive talent – particularly defensive ends – and I expect that to continue with McGregor.