Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crestview Bulletin Write-Up on James Wilkerson

A nice writeup on Senior Wide Receiver, James Wilkerson, from his hometown paper the Crestview Bulletin. Wilkerson had a phenomenan season catching passes and returning kicks in addition to being an outstanding downfield blocker.

Wilkerson made the most of his opportunity at JSU
December 01, 2009 4:30 PM
Randy Dickson |
Former Crestview wide receiver James Wilkerson finished up his college football career Nov. 21 as Jacksonville State beat Eastern Kentucky.

Along the way the former Bulldog etched his name along with the best pass catchers in Gamecock history.

Wilkerson finished his career with 100 receptions, and is the sixth player to do that at JSU. His 1,780 yards that go with those 100 catches ranks third all time for the Gamecocks.

The icing on the cake for Wilkerson was being named All Ohio Valley Conference.

There can be no denying that Wilkerson made the most of his opportunity for the Football Championship Subdivision (the old Division I-AA) school.

Wilkerson wasn’t one of the most sought after players in the country when he came out of high school, but when given the opportunity to play for the Gamecocks, as the numbers indicate, Wilkerson played well.

Every high school player dreams of playing at a Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee or Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Most kids know all about the big time programs that travel by plane and play in front of 80,000 plus fans.

And there’s nothing wrong about dreaming of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12 or the Southeastern Conference. But there are countless players that have accepted their fate and moved forward and enjoyed great success away from the network TV cameras and cult-like following that is major college football.

I know that many, if not most, college players at every level, dream of playing professional football one day. And while it’s easier to get recognized playing at a Florida or Florida State, the kid at Jacksonville State, if he’s good enough, will get a shot at the pros.

Most of the local football players that I’ve tracked each week this fall are playing for the love of the game.

Wilkerson might get a shot at the NFL. Time will tell if former Bulldog offensive lineman Matt Sanders, who is a redshirt freshman at Clemson, will have an opportunity to play on Sunday.

David Langston, Joe Thigpen and Cameron Domangue are doing well at Birmingham-Southern. And Tyler Reeves continues to plug along at Huntingdon College.

Players in Division III play strictly for the love of the game. Most of these kids performed in front of larger crowds in high school than they do at the small college level. But they prepare just as hard each week as their peers at the larger schools.

And on Saturday the bus that takes them from the motel to the stadium for an away game is probably the same bus that will carry them back to their home campus.

Yes, kids dream about their favorite school, but in the end, they just want to continue playing ball at a college level.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a kid tell me that unless he can play for a certain school or at a certain level they won’t play college ball. All the players I’ve known have said they don’t care where they play as long as they can keep playing.

James Wilkerson was one of those kids who was happy with the chance to play college football.

Congratulations to him for having a good run.

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