Fedora Calls Va. DT

In its pursuit of filling the defensive tackle position, North Carolina became the latest school to offer Donta Wilkins, a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder from Dumfries (Va.) Potomac.

"Coach [Larry Fedora] had called me on the phone and had told me right there," Wilkins said. "He told us how he still wanted a chance, because they just got [to UNC on] Jan. 2, they're highly interested in me, and basically he just wanted me to come and see the school."

Wilkins's scholarship offer count has now reached into the double-digit mark. Other schools that have offered include Boston College, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Penn State, Temple, and Virginia.

Two weeks prior to Fedora extending the offer, Deke Adams, UNC's defensive line coach, made an evaluation visit to Potomac High School, marking the first sign that UNC was interested in Wilkins.

"He told my coaches basically that they wanted [a defensive tackle] capable of coming in and playing now," Wilkins said. "Of course you'll have to compete, but they definitely have playing time available. I'm ready to compete and earn my spot."

UNC's previous coaching staff expressed mild interest in Wilkins, but more than anything else left a bad impression.

"Last year, my interest level in UNC would probably be if not No. 1 at least top two or three," Wilkins said. "Last year, one of their old coaches was a mile away from my school – I wouldn't even say a mile – at another school and they called my coach and said ‘Can you send [Wilkins'] tape.' My coach was just like, ‘We're just right here if you want to come look at him and get the tape.' And he said, ‘It's okay, we're not that interested.' That hurt me. I had [other schools'] coaches coming in and they liked me, so I just forgot about UNC."

At the very least, UNC under Fedora has begun the process of rebuilding the burnt bridge.

"I understand that was the old coaches," Wilkins said. "There has been a lot going on. But so many other schools have been talking to me. It's going to be hard to get [UNC] back in the race."

Three schools have taken a lead in the race for Wilkins – Michigan State, Penn State, and Virginia.

"I feel the love coming from [those three schools]," Wilkins said. "They are always talking to me and always talking to my coaches. It's somewhere where I can see myself playing at."

Good news for UNC is there will be plenty of time to make up lost ground. At the earliest, Wilkins doesn't plan on making a verbal commitment until mid-football season.

"I want to make sure it's right," Wilkins said. "I want to make sure it's not a decision I'm going to regret. That whole de-committing thing is not for me."

Wilkins also figures to make a visit to UNC.

"Hopefully in the next month I will be down there [to UNC]," Wilkins said.

Additionally, Wilkins hopes to make summer visits to Miami and Michigan State. The only schools he has visited thus far are Maryland, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

The majority of schools are recruiting Wilkins as a defensive tackle. However, a few schools, including Tennessee and Virginia Tech, like him as an interior offensive lineman.

"I'm looking to play defense," Wilkins said. "In talking to my coaches, they said I would be a great center, but I just love the defensive side of the ball so that's what I want to stick to."

As a freshman, Wilkins earned a starting spot on Potomac's offensive line. He's been a two-way starter since his sophomore year. His junior season was his breakout year – he led the team in tackles with 90, including 27 for a loss and 11 sacks, and earning first team all-state honors on defense and second team all-state on offense.

Donta Wilkins Profile

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