LUTHER — When you're 6-foot-1, 325 pounds and playing at the Class 2A level, it's hard to hide on the football field.
So Luther defensive lineman Justin Wilson spent a lot of time watching opposing offenses run plays to any part of the field where he wasn't.
“Every coach I talked to said: ‘You've got to know where he's at, check at the line and run away from him,'” Luther coach Scott O'Hara recalled.
“We had to move him around a lot on the defensive line. In my opinion, he's a perfect nose tackle, but we put him at every spot on the line to make it difficult for the offense to keep up.”
Despite all that attention and avoidance from offenses, Wilson posted solid numbers. He had 65 tackles, 11 of them for lost yardage, and six quarterback sacks in being selected as The Oklahoman's Little All-City Defensive Player of the Year.
Hard-core high school football fans might not be too familiar with Wilson's name. He only played two seasons at Luther — as a sophomore and senior. The other two years, he lived in Georgia.
Once he returned, opposing coaches quickly remembered him.
“This season, they double-teamed me, triple-teamed me, ran away from me,” Wilson said. “I didn't see single blocks very much, but when I did, I tried to take advantage of it.”
Wilson's physical presence might be his most imposing feature. At first look, he doesn't appear how you might expect a 325-pound high schoolboy to look like.
Tree trunks for legs and a ripped upper body, with some tangible proof of his overall strength. In the spring, he was a powerlifting champion, squatting 610 pounds, bench-pressing 345 and dead-lifting 585.
He was athletic enough that O'Hara used him at tight end on occasion, and he was the team's kicker.
What about his endurance, you ask?
O'Hara saw it personified in a game against Stroud this season.
A two-way player for the Lions, Wilson blocked for the offense on a 15-play drive that ended with a turnover on downs.
Stroud marched back down the field on a 12-play drive, concluding when Wilson tackled the quarterback for a loss on a fourth-down play inside the Luther 5-yard line.
“Twenty-seven straight plays, and he didn't come off the field once,” O'Hara said. “Then he made the tackle to keep them from scoring.”
Colleges have been slow to come around, primarily because he's only 6-foot-1.
“They say I'm a tad-bit short,” Wilson said. “But if they think that holds me back, they're missing out.”
O'Hara hopes Wilson's football skills will show through and earn him an opportunity.
“If he's 6-3, it's not an issue,” the coach said. “He uses his hands better than any high school kid I've ever been around. He has quick feet, and he's fast — that's the thing a lot of coaches like.”
Tulsa and Ohio each made in-person visits to see him before the season and extended offers. Emporia State (Kan.) and Northeaster Oklahoma A&M Junior College are also pursuing him.
“I've talked to a lot of good programs,” Wilson said. “It feels like it's a little slow right now, but it'll be all right. I'm just looking for a shot.”