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ASU Football: Wide receiver Johnny Wilson joins group of Sun Devils in the transfer portal

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Another high recruit

NCAA Football: Colorado at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The roster exodus from Arizona State football continued this week as wide receiver Johnny Wilson announced he was putting his name in the transfer portal.

Wilson, a former four-star prospect from Calabasas, California, appeared in only eight games over the course of two seasons with the Sun Devils. He was a member of the once promising 2020 recruiting class of wide receivers the Sun Devils had collected. That group also included current members of the team Elijah Badger, LV Bunkley-Shelton, and Chad Johnson Jr.

He was originally a member of the Oregon Ducks’ recruiting class, but followed his main recruiter, Ducks’ wide receivers coach Prentice Gill, to Tempe after Gill was hired to Herm Edwards’ staff. 247Sports had Wilson rated as the No. 21 wide receiver and No. 116 overall prospect in the 2020 class.

Excitement was high for Wilson when he signed to play football Arizona State. Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 230 pounds, he possessed the height of a tight end but the athleticism of a true boundary wideout. In theory, he would have become one of the greatest matchup nightmares the Sun Devils had ever introduced to opponents.

But things did not quite materialize that way. Wilson got out of the blocks slowly in his true freshman season during the COVID-marred 2020 campaign. He managed six receptions for 89 yards, but his most notable moments came on a pair of critical missed catches in the season-opening game against USC in Los Angeles.

In his second season, Wilson appeared on his way to a breakout. Through two games, he equaled his number of catches from 2020, including his first (and now only) touchdown reception as a Sun Devil against UNLV.

His finest game in maroon and gold was also his last. At home against Colorado, Wilson recorded four catches for 70 yards, including a 28-yard pitch-and-catch from quarterback Jayden Daniels. Later in the game, he injured his hamstring. Effectively, it ended his Sun Devil career.

He would return to see some snaps later in the season, but did not look anywhere near his former self, and was soon shut down for the remainder of the season.

He finished his time with Arizona State with 18 receptions for 243 yards and a touchdown in seven games played. It was a far cry from the production the highest-rated recruit of Herm Edwards’ best Sun Devil recruiting class was projected to bring.

Wilson is the latest in a series of Sun Devil football departures. Running back DeaMonte Trayanum, linebacker Jordan Banks and cornerback Tommi Hill, each former four-star recruits themselves, have all entered the transfer portal in recent weeks as well.