Brad Wilkerson Returns Home

It all hit Brad Wilkerson on Friday night. As he stood at home plate of McKethan Stadium watching his career highlight video play on the scoreboard, Wilkerson remembered how special has career at Florida was. He'll be inducted to the College Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, and he will be the first former Florida player to be in inducted.

Q: When was the last time you were at a Florida game?"

Brad Wilkerson: "Last year. I usually to try to come back for a football, basketball, baseball game every year. This is under different circumstances, but it was a lot of fun. It was kind of emotional watching the videos, but it was a lot of fun. All of the special moments we had as a team here and individually -- it brings back a lot of great memories."

Q: "Have you been able to develop a relationship with Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan since he took the job at Florida?"

A: "A little bit, yes. We've been in contact. We text back and forth. I remember last year, my son did something with Gator Bait after he did that thing with Mississippi State, I sent him a jokingly text about it. He's a good guy. He has really helped me out and given me good advice on maybe some future plans. We'll see."

Q: "What are your future plans?"

A: "I don't know what I'm going to do. Right now I'm finishing up school and I decided to go ahead and do that since I wasn't doing too much. I wish I would've finished before. There's maybe aspirations in coaching and you always ask questions to different coaches and I've asked other coaches the same things. Just those typical things."

Q: "What's it like to be back in Gainesville?"

A: "It's special to be back as a hall of fame recipient. It just brings back some great memories of the times I had here on and off the field and the teammates I played with and how we pushed each other to become so good and be successful."

Q: "What's the most memorable part of your career at UF?"

A: "Just being able to be on teams that were successful. When you're on winning teams, it's always a lot more fun. I can guarantee you that. We were on some really good teams here."

Q: "Is it cool to be the first College Baseball Hall of Famer from UF?"

A: "Living down here and seeing how big baseball is -- the warm-weather state -- I mean baseball is so huge. To actually be the first recipient, it's kind of... I guess when it happens, I'll realize a little bit more, but it is special to just come out and give it my best shot and see where it went and it went pretty good."

Q: "Preston Tucker broke your career RBI record earlier this year. Have you been able to talk to him at all?"

A: "We haven't had a chance. Hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to him tomorrow. I'm going to talk to the team tomorrow and hopefully I'll get a chance to talk to him and really congratulate him. But he has been a great success here at Florida and I'm glad to see him back this year."

Q: "What was your reaction to the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction?"

A: "You never think about that growing up as a kid and coming to the University of Florida, you don't think about those types of things. You think about just trying to help your team win games and just to be nominated with the names that are going in this year and then to be inducted, I think it'll sink in a lot more once the ceremony is over and I get to enjoy it with my family and my friends."

Q: "What kind of advice will you give to the Florida team?"

A: "Hopefully good advice. I just want to talk to them. I know they have a lot of draft-eligible kids this year and I just want them to mainly try to focus on the college experience and really enjoy this experience because you're never going to get it again. Once you move on with your career in pro ball and in life with whatever job you take, these team atmospheres and what you do as a team, there's special moments and you're never going to get them back again. I just want them to enjoy their time here at Florida."

Q: "How does this Florida team stack up with the ones you were on?"

A: "I don't think they'd beat us. No, they're a really good team. The arms they throw out there each and every night out of the bullpen, I mean that's what has been their success. Obviously they have some good hitters, but their arms are just every night, 90-92-95 out of the bullpen, same deal. It's almost equivalent to a Double-A pitching staff. It's tough to beat."

Q: "How does Mike Zunino compare with other catchers you've seen?"

A: "He's solid. He's getting better each and every game catching and throwing the ball. He has always been able to hit, but his key is going to be catching and throwing the ball. He is definitely improving in that. He's definitely going to be a major league player when he signs."

Q: "You played for the Texas Rangers in your career. What do you think about Texas A&M coming to the SEC?

A: "You know, it's interesting. I actually got a call the other day from our friend and then (Texas Rangers second baseman) Ian Kinsler -- who is a friend of mind -- he went to Missouri -- and I'm like, ‘You guys don't have a chance. Come on. Are you serious?' So, we'll see what happens."

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