Wilkerson told Inside the Auburn Tigers that he plans to sign with Coach Tommy Tuberville's team later this year. A 6-4, 244-pound bruiser with 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, he plays a position that is expected to be a priority in the upcoming recruiting class as the Tigers seek to replace 2003 seniors Dontarrious Thomas and Karlos Dansby.
"I know that we are going to have a great team in the next few years," Wilkerson says. "I know we have a good, big running back in Brandon Jacobs that I played against last year. I know our defense is going to be solid. We've got some great linebackers moving on.
"One thing about them (Auburn) is that they're really keeping in touch with me to make sure I get my grades right," says Wilkerson, who notes that Auburn coaches stopped in El Dorado this week to check on him. "They are sticking by me. Knowing that I'm coming back to them, they are by my side visiting me to make sure I'm going to be back there in December. They are there for me. I know they are going to have a great team there and that's one reason why I'm going to Auburn.
After attending a football camp at Auburn prior to his senior year at Bowdon, Ga., High, Wilkerson told Auburn coaches he wanted to play for the Tigers. However, the three-sport star, who was heavily recruited, did not qualify academically. He notes that Auburn's coaches suggested he attend and play football at Butler County Community College. He says since enrolling at the Kansas junior college that his goal has been to make sure he's ready to take the field for the 2004 season as an Auburn Tiger. Despite offers from schools around the country, Wilkerson says he never considered going anywhere else but Auburn.
"That's my main goal," Wilkerson adds. "I want to get there and get better. I never changed my mind about going to Auburn. Everything was straight about going to Auburn. I'm planning on getting back there in December. That's all I've thought about going back to."
A second-team All-Jayhawk Conference selection last season for Butler County when he made 61 tackles and one quarterback sack, Wilkerson is a very physical player on a team that was known for stuffing opponents at every turn. Last season Butler County gave up just 62 points in 11 games and allowed just 85 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.
Wilkerson says that the experience of playing as a freshman was just what he thought it would be. "It's a faster game," he says. "Everybody here is good so you know you have to bring your ‘A' game every day.
"It's taught me about being ready mentally every play and being physical every play. When I get to Auburn it's going to be what I had here before with faster players and more excitement with more people in the stands. It's going to be hype. I have learned a lot of things in junior college to prepare me for Division I."
"I had to prove to myself that I could play with the best of the best," Wilkerson says of his success as a freshman. "There were a lot of things I had to do, but it was a good experience for me. I'm going to be ready for a strong year this year."
With both Dansby and Thomas leaving after the coming season there should be two vacant starting spots open for the 2004 season. Wilkerson says that the opportunity for immediate playing time is very exciting to him. He says that by graduating in December from Butler County and participating in offseason workouts and spring training at Auburn next year that he'll be ready for the next step up when the time comes.
"My main thing is to get up there and show them what I've got, what I learned in juco," Wilkerson says. "I'm just going to give them all I've got and show them that I'm going to make big plays for the defense."
A four-year starter in high school for Coach Dwight Hochstellar, Wilkerson was one of the top prospects in Georgia as a senior despite his academic situation. He caught the eyes of Auburn coaches at a summer camp with his quickness, instincts, size and hustle. He had offers from Georgia, Alabama, Boston College, Michigan State and others and was also a standout in basketball and track in his career at Bowdon High