Name: Marvin Wilson
School: Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas)
Position: Defensive Tackle
No matter what you think of him, Marvin Wilson is an enigma.
A 6-foot-4, 330-pound behemoth, he has the size of a pure hole-plugger, but the nimble athleticism of a basketball ballhandler (more on that later). He’s the unquestioned top defensive line prospect in the nation, and some have anointed him as the best overall prospect in high school football. Yet, that top prospect doesn’t compete against any of Texas’ top programs because his school, Episcopal High, doesn’t play public high schools, regardless of size.
So, what to make of Wilson and his present and future? Just ask him.
“I’m a large defensive tackle that takes up tremendous amount of space, but I get to the ball as fast as a pin drops,” Wilson offered to USA TODAY High School Sports. “I can dominate one-on-ones and double teams because I’m a run stuffer that can also flip his hips and get after the passer.
“I like to watch Vince Wilfork, Warren Sapp, Reggie White, and Ndamukong Suh.”
Wait, he’s Vince Wilfork meets J.J. Watt? That sounds a bit far-fetched, right? Well, judge for yourself:
That’s pretty impressive, as is Wilson’s internal motor and motivation. He has taken to calling himself a “real life goon,” a phrase he took from former LSU linebacker Jaylen Mills, representing his desire to wreck anything in front of him. His internal fire is also fueled by a determination to prove wrong those who question his ability to compete against the best.
While Wilson’s primary competition might not be at the level of some other top recruits, the opponent he lines up against every day in practice certainly is. Four-star offensive lineman Walker Little is the second-best prospect at Episcopal, though he would be the top prospect at nearly any other school. Little is considered a top-10 offensive tackle prospect and a top-50 overall recruit. Having both of those talents on the same roster gives Episcopal an advantage in both trenches.
That, and their own aggressive goals, which for Wilson include some lofty senior year statistics.
“I want to have 17 sacks this year, 35 tackles for loss, and I want 85 total tackles this season.
“I hate when people question if I’m as good as everybody say I am just because I play in a private school league,” he said. “I just take it so personal. I’m this far off in my career and people still bring up the fact I play in a private school league. So every big-time camp stage I dominate it. With the biggest chip on my shoulder, I want to leave everybody with no doubt I’m the best defensive lineman, the best player in the nation.”
Wilson’s talent also brings with it the kind of recruiting spotlight reserved for the can’t-miss athletes who come along once a year. He’s desperately wanted by nearly every major power program in the nation, and unveiled his Top 10 to much fanfare in June. That list included long-running and returning national powers, including Alabama, Florida State and Oklahoma, as well as LSU and in-state Texas.
Wilson also had the confidence to proclaim that he would only consider Texas if the Longhorns won at least nine games this season, an announcement that drew both incredulity and some support for the teen’s perceived honesty. For his part, Wilson insists he is just being honest and forthright with a program he has cheered in his own state.
“Everybody talks about how great Texas is and going to be, I want to believe in it but they keep losing games they should clearly win,” Wilson told USA TODAY HSS. “I just want them to win so I can fall in line like every other Texas kid.”
Before then, Wilson has unfinished business on the field, and the court. That’s because he isn’t just a star football player. He’s also a bona fide, 320-pound basketball talent who can clear out the paint (as you’d expect) and run the floor (as you might not expect). You can see Wilson in action on the court, above.
CLASS OF 17: No. 17, Owen Lovell, baseball, Cullman (Ala.)
There’s no question that football is what will define Wilson’s athletic future, though both the teen and his coaches insist he’s a much more complete picture than the gaudy statistics and highlights paint, as Lerch makes clear.
“The manner in which he conducts himself off of the field is as impressive as the work he does on it,” Lerch said. “All of his teachers rave about Marvin’s thoughtful contributions to class discussions and engagement in their lessons. Earlier this year, Marvin received an award for a poem he composed in his creative writing course. He has a great intellect to complement his incredible skills as an athlete.”