by Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn)
Name: Macan Wilson
Position: Wide receiver
School: Kinkaid High School (Houston, Texas)
Star rating: 3-star
Other offers: California, New Mexico
The Scouting Report
From ESPN Recruiting Nation:
“Wilson is one of those prospects you can’t help but like as a crafty and tough target that can play on the inside or outside, but is better suited for the slot at the next level. He has adequate overall size and may not be as tall as his listed height from what we have seen on tape. He is deceptively explosive and fast with a knack for getting open.”
What he’s saying
“After Northwestern offered me, I could not find a school that’s a better fit for me,” he said.
What’s the hype?
In the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas, the Longhorns and Aggies engage in extensive resource warfare and negative prospect-hunting banter as they fight and claw to secure the nation’s top recruits. The state is littered with four and five star prospects, and most of them wind up in one of two places: the Big 12 or SEC. But not every gem is gobbled up by the region’s historic powers; sometimes someone special falls through the cracks.
That preamble should have tipped you off, but in case you’re still not catching on: Wilson did not receive offers from any SEC or Big 12 schools. In fact, Northwestern was one of only three schools to offer the 6’0’’, 185-pound receiver. All signs point to that being a very good decision. He graduated Kinkaid (Houston) as the all-time leading receiver in program history and led the Falcons to consecutive state championships in 2010 and 2011. And just in case this whole football thing doesn’t work according to plan, Wilson is just as ready to step onto the baseball diamond, where he was named first team All-state three times (2010-2012).
What about next year?
Switching to an option-based offense obscured the reality of Northwestern’s 2012 receiving corps. The group entered as arguably the deepest and most talented in the Big Ten but finished just ninth among league opponents in total passing yards. That was no fault of the receivers themselves; the Wildcats rarely threw the ball downfield when their primary quarterback, Kain Colter, was under center and finished third in the Big Ten in rushing attempts (595), many of them option sets with Venric Mark lines up in the backfield.
Part of the reason why the option was so effective last season was the various threats posed by the receiving corps. Tony Jones can split the defense with gamebreaking speed. Kyle Prater is too talented (and too tall) to ignore. Christian Jones is developing into a complete pass-catching threat. And Cameron Dickeron is well on his way to becoming a true No. 1 option. When taken together, the receivers will again enter this season as one of the league’s most highly touted units, even if their employment is prescribed as an ancillary piece to a run-heavy attack.
Unfortunately for Wilson, playing time will be hard to come by in 2013. I can’t imagine a scenario when he doesn’t redshirt.
What about the future?
Eventually the current crop of receivers will move on, and Wilson will be able to challenge for a starting spot in the receiving corps. Scouts say his best fit is in the slot, that his speed and natural instincts make him a tough and savvy pass-catcher in tight spaces. If that is the case, his transition into Northwestern’s offense shouldn’t be much of a problem.
The upside, for now, is that Wilson has the chance to reap the benefits of watching Jones and Prater and Fields and Dickerson play out their final seasons with the Wildcats. This group once found itself in Macan’s very position, true freshmen looking to break into camp and make an impression right away. I do believe Wilson can become a preeminent figment of Northwestern’s passing attack down the road. You just won’t see it this season. A year of scout team work will ease his learning process and by next spring, Wilson could be pressing to move up the depth chart.