When Jamarion Wilkerson streaked up the middle, dashing by a pair of Horseshoe Bend defensive backs, everyone knew the Dadeville receiver was going to make waves this season.
He continued to light up Reeltown with nearly the exact same play Thursday night, but Wilkerson also started to make a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball. He is the Outlook Player of the Week.
“He’s a smart kid anyway and he’s catching on to what we’re doing defensively,” Dadeville coach Richard White said. “At wide receiver, I knew he was going to be an asset, but he’s really starting to get it defensively.”
Having low numbers was the main reason White and the Tiger coaching staff decided to move Wilkerson to be a dual threat. He’s never played defense before, but his knowledge of the game plus his size were both going to be assets on the defensive side of the ball.
Standing at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, Wilkerson makes it difficult for opposing offenses to get around him, and he combines that size with a lot of speed.
“He gives us the best option with him and Cooper (Childers) at safety,” Wilkerson said. “We’re trying to bring in some younger kids but we’re doing it slow. (Wilkerson) understands the coverages and he gets everybody in the right coverages. He’s just a very smart kid.”
Wilkerson also continues to do his job well offensively. After taking his sophomore year off from playing football, Wilkerson returned and was one of the Tigers’ most important targets. Now working with new quarterback Lane Smith, Wilkerson continues to be an even bigger threat offensively.
“Lane is getting better and I knew he would,” White said. “The more reps he gets game wise, the better he’s going to be. He’s got two really good receivers out there with (Wilkerson) and Cooper and he can depend on those guys to get open and catch the football.”
With more than 100 receiving yards against Reeltown, Wilkerson did just that. He burned the Rebels with a straight route up the middle. It was one Rebel coach Matt Johnson was looking for after Wilkerson did it against HBS the week prior, but the Reeltown defense still couldn’t stop Wilkerson’s speed.
He finished with 105 yards on five receptions and a 22-yard touchdown.
Not only does Wilkerson do a lot statistically, he also helps Dadeville in its spread offense. Last year, the Tigers moved to a spread after being a run-dominant team for many years under White. Although Dadeville still wants to establish the run first and foremost, it has a lot more options. But having a guy like Wilkerson at receiver keeps defenses honest and helps the Tigers get that rushing attack going.
“It keeps the backend of the defense back,” White said. “It doesn’t let them put eight or nine guys in the box. They always have to keep their eye on him and they’ll know we’ll go over the top with him.”
According to 247Sports, Wilkerson has interest from 11 programs and with a high GPA, he’s gotten looks from both Yale, Harvard and Princeton. Closer to home, he has Division I interest from UAB and Troy among other lower division teams.