- William Wilkerson, RecruitingNation
DESOTO, Texas -- Chip Kelly has done it again.
Oregon’s head coach and mastermind behind one of the most explosive offenses in the country has landed yet another commitment from one of Texas’ premiere offensive talents.
Now you can add ESPN 150 athlete Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) to that list after he announced his decision to join the Ducks during halftime of his spring game on Friday.
“[Oregon] just fits me perfect,” Wilson said. “I am the same size as all of their running backs right now. I have the speed and the quickness to play a part in their offense.”
Wilson, the No. 7 athlete and No. 53 player overall, chose Oregon over Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. In addition to his top six, he also held offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Colorado, LSU, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oregon State and West Virginia.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Now I can focus on spending the last moments with all of my best friends and family before I go to college.”
Though Wilson long carried his top six, it was always thought that the two schools with the best chance of getting his commitment were the Ducks and Longhorns.
What might have cost Texas was its pitch of using him in a roll similar to that of current running back-receiver D.J. Monroe, who rushed for 326 yards and one touchdown on 48 carries, and caught eight passes for 70 yards and zero scores last season.
Wilson wants to play a much larger roll than what Monroe has played, which the Ducks were able to offer with proof of what De'Anthony Thomas did a season ago. Thomas, who has similar abilities to Wilson, was the only player in the nation with 400 or more yards rushing, receiving and kick returning in 2011.
Texas will also have three stout running backs and a four-star back coming in when he begins college, which didn’t help the Longhorns chances.
“I just didn’t want to put myself in a predicament to go down there and not get any playing time,” Wilson said of Texas.
Thomas’ numbers, as well as those left by James over his career, caught Wilson’s attention and outweighed his concerns of being far away from home. Those concerns were so prevalent that he spent four days in Oregon during an unofficial in late March to try to get a feel for being far away from home.
“When I took my visit [James and Thomas] were the guys that I hung out with,” Wilson said. “They showed me around Oregon and showed me what it is to be an Oregon Duck.”
They also showed him that the likelihood of getting homesick is high, but he could overcome them with keeping the ultimate goal in mind.
“When we decided to go up there our flight was canceled so we had to stay all night in Portland. That shook him up,” said Don Wilson, his father. “He said if that happened to him and he was by himself he would lose his mind. I was like ‘Hey, this is a business decision.
“He said he could see himself getting homesick but he talked to LaMichael and De’Anthony. Everyone said they got homesick. LaMichael James said he was homesick. But he told Dontre that he went home for a weekend and had two guys go to college with me out of high school. One was staying with his mom. The other was working fast food. He said he was so ready to get on that plane and go back to Oregon when he realized there wasn’t anything going on at home. It was easy to get back on that plane.”
Wilson (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) felt comfortable enough to become the third member of Oregon’s 2013 class, which also features four-star running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha).
Wilson, who was invited to The Opening on Thursday, has the talent to play right away at Oregon. Despite being on a team load with college-ready talent last season, he rushed 127 times for 767 yards and 15 touchdowns, and caught 12 passes for 246 yards and five scores. He was also incredibly lethal in the return game.
It’s because of that versatility that made him such a hot commodity, according to DeSoto coach Claude Mathis.
“This kid can go to safety right now and probably be a first-round draft pick at safety or corner if he wants to,” Mathis said. “That’s no lie. I’ve never seen a kid that could go either way. He can go to free safety, corner, punt return, kick returner, slot or running back. He can definitely be a first-rounder if he wants to be.”
Wilson is putting it in the hands of Oregon’s coaches to help him get there. Their job now is to keep him Eugene until then.
In what has become an unflattering trend, three players signed from Texas have transferred. That includes two back to schools in their home state after last season in Seastrunk (Baylor) and Carson (Texas A&M). Williams transferred after redshirting his freshman season in 2010.
Transferring aside, Oregon will also have to keep other schools from Wilson until signing day in February. One can never count the Longhorns out of the picture if it chooses to continue to recruit him. Two of his high school teammates– Under Armour All-Americans Bryson Echols and Curtis Riser – are enrolling at Texas in a few days.
He’s also still going to try and visit Ohio State over the summer.
“I hope to go visit them this summer but nothing is promised,” Wilson said. “Before I make anything official I was going to try to make that visit. But if not this is what I am going to do.”
494dSam Khan Jr. and Max Olson