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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Coach's Take: OT Ishmael Wilson

By Sam Khan Jr.

"Coach's Take" is a GigEmNation series that offers readers a closer look at the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class by visiting with someone who coached the player or coached against him. Today we take a look at three-star offensive tackle Ishmael Wilson of Dallas Bishop Dunne by visiting with his coach Michael Johnson.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Wilson ranked 39th nationally among tackles, was an Offense-Defense Bowl All-American selection and a first-team all-district pick in TAPPS 1-5A. He anchored an offensive line that paved the way for Bishop Dunne's offensive output of 297 yards per game. Wilson chose the Aggies over a host of other programs that offered, including Michigan, Nebraska, Auburn, Baylor and Texas Tech.

Here's Johnson's take on Wilson:

GigEmNation: What was your first impression of Wilson when he first entered your program?

Johnson: He was a big, aggressive guy. When I got to know him off the field, he's one of the best kids you could meet. The one word that sums him up, on the field, is "nasty."

GEN: What are his biggest strengths?

Johnson: His technique. He plays with great technique and great leverage. That would probably be his best asset, but he's also a good athlete as well. He can do multiple things, but his technique, understanding how to block, those are some of the positives that I see in him.

GEN: What are the areas he needs improvement in as he transition to the college level?

Johnson: I think he has to work on footwork. When you look at it, all young linemen have to work on feet and hand placement and hat placement on blocking. Those are things that he's going to have to polish up. One thing that he's not going to have to polish up is toughness. He's one of the nastiest kids I know on the football field.

GEN: You mentioned his off-the-field personality. What is it like seeing the contrast between his on-field nastiness and his off-field charisma?

Johnson: It can be a positive but it can be a negative as well. We try to tell him to find a balance between the two, a balance between the Ishmael that's not on the field and the Ishmael that's on the field. You can be great once those two meet. There's a fine line between those two. He's aggressive and he doesn't mind letting you know how aggressive he is and how good he is, so I try to tell him to find a balance between those two. But he's a phenomenal player. There's a time to be nasty but there's also a time not to be nasty as well.

GEN: How do you see him fitting in at Texas A&M and in its offensive line?

Johnson: I feel that they'll probably start him out at guard at first and then work him out at tackle as he gets older. As far as fitting in with the team, Ishmael is a very likable guy. I think he'll fit in well with the players. Talking to him these last couple of weeks, I know he's heading up there pretty soon, he can't wait to get down there and play right away.

GEN: What will be your lasting memory of him as a player?

Johnson: Being able to see how thankful he was as a player. When he talked to the team he talked about how thankful he was for coming to Bishop Dunne and to be able to reach his goals and also had the opportunity to get a great education and now, to be able to move forward and play in the in -- using his words -- "the best conference in the world," the SEC. That's the thing that I'll remember the most.