Stanford recruit Michael Wilson living a dream — and giving opposing defenses nightmares

Eric Sondheimer
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Michael Wilson experienced a moment last March that high school football recruits have come to cherish in the 21st century.

After finishing a weight lifting session, the West Hills Chaminade High receiver checked his smart phone and saw a direct message via Twitter from a Stanford assistant coach.

"Call me."

Wilson immediately showed it to his best friend.

"Bro, look at this," he said.

Wilson called the coach, who proceeded to pass his own smart phone to several other Stanford assistants so they could offer praise to Wilson.

Then came the moment Wilson had been dreaming about since he was 10. The Stanford recruiter offered him a scholarship. And of course, in the age of social media, video of the moment was captured on a friend’s phone.

"I was going crazy," Wilson said. "I couldn't hold back the emotion. It was one of those moments you don't know what's happening. Loss of words. It was a lot of hard work finally paying off."

Wilson, 6 feet 3, 195 pounds, stamped himself as one of Southern California's rising college prospects as a junior, when he caught 70 passes for 1,278 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Add his 4.1 grade-point average and his athleticism — he used to be the starting point guard for the Chaminade basketball team — and you begin to understand why he’s a fit for Stanford.

"Pretty much from a young age, that was my dream school," Wilson said. "That's where my dad wanted me to go. That's where my mom wanted me to go. My family felt I was a Stanford guy, whatever that means. I fit that role — someone who's humble, works hard, great grades, kind of an academic-first guy who also has the athletic side."

Strong hands and the ability to pick up yards after a catch are a few of Wilson's top attributes. He used to play running back before high school, so holding a ball firmly while taking on defenders comes naturally.

But there was no guarantee Wilson would become good enough to be a Stanford recruit. What changed him was a 78-yard touchdown reception on a bubble screen against Mission Hills Alemany two seasons ago.

"Sophomore year, the first five games I wouldn’t say they were rough, but I wasn’t making a big impact,” he said. “I was mainly a role player, blocking, a couple catches for 10 yards.”

Then came the touchdown reception against Alemany.

“That was really my first standout play of my high school career,” he said. “From that point on, my confidence grew. It goes to show you the game is 90% mental. Nothing changed physically. It’s just mentally I really knew, yeah, I can do this.”

Among the many outstanding high school receivers from the Southland, he’ll have strong competition from the likes of Amon-ra St. Brown of Santa Ana Mater Dei, Washington commit Marquis Spiker of Murrieta Valley and Washington commit Austin Osborne of Mission Viejo.

Wilson welcomes the challenge. He intends to strive to be the best, on and off the field. That’s the Stanford way.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: latsondheimer

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