It’s been a productive spring evaluation period for North Fort Myers (Fla.) receiver/safety Joseph Wilkins Jr.. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound three-star has seen double-digit college coaches at his workouts, while he’s added new offers from NC State, FIU and ECU in the last week.
“It’s been going very well for me,” said Wilkins, who now claims verbals from Maryland, Arizona, South Carolina, Iowa State, USF, UCF, and the aforementioned new suitors. “I’ve gotten some new offers and a bunch of schools have been through. Notre Dame was here, Florida was here, Marshall was here, Arizona was in, Maryland was in, and there were more too.”
Wilkins isn’t sure what offers will materialize next, but he said pretty much all of his current suitors are in regular contact and making a push. About half of them want Wilkins as a receiver, and the other half think he’d fit as a safety or corner.
“Arizona really likes me a lot as a receiver, NC State is pushing as a DB, FIU is really pushing for me as a DB, UCF really likes me at receiver, Iowa State likes me as a DB and is in touch a lot, Maryland is pushing for me as a receiver, and South Carolina is on me as a DB,” said Wilkins, who has no preference if he plays offense or defense (“it’s about where I fit best and whatever spot gets me on the field faster”). “The only school I’ve been to so far [this offseason], though, is Western Kentucky. I enjoyed that, because it was different from Florida with all the hills and mountains. I kind of liked the atmosphere there. But this summer I definitely want to get out to see UCF, Iowa State, Maryland and South Carolina if I can. You never know how schedules are going to work out, but those are the schools I’d like to see.”
The North Fort Myers product went on to explain why he’d like to check out the Knights, Terps, Cyclones and Gamecocks.
UCF: Those coaches really want me. I used to live in Tampa too, so I used to be around there. Their one coach was just here and he really likes me and thinks I’d fit well into their offensive system. They think I can really help them, and they said anytime I want I can come up to visit.
Iowa State: [The Cyclones] are actually recruiting me harder than anyone. They like me on defense and think my length could really help in their secondary. I’m interested, because they talk to me like every day.
South Carolina: Coach [Will] Muschamp and [USC’s defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson] love my size as a DB. Coach T-Rob was at Florida and coached guys who are now in the NFL, and he thinks I could develop the same sort of way at South Carolina. And I should be able to see [the Gamecocks] too, because my high school team is going to be up in that area, so I think I’ll be able to stop by.
As for Maryland, Wilkins received a Terps’ offer from recruiter Andy Buh back in mid-January. It represented one of his very first power-five offers, after Arizona. Since then, Wilkins and Buh have stayed in regular contact.
“Coach Buh just came to practice a week or two ago. He’s really on me hard too,” Wilkins said. “They offered me at wide receiver, even though he’s the defensive coordinator. But Coach Buh is always checking up on me, asking me about my week and wanting me to visit. It’s real good with him.”
In the last couple months, Wilkins has learned about the Maryland program.
“They play in a great conference in the Big Ten, they’re sponsored by Under Armour, which is cool, and it’s great academics,” Wilkins said. “They seem like a program on the rise with the current coaches and the guys they’re bringing in. I’d like to see what they’re about.”
Maryland, Iowa State, South Carolina and UCF shouldn’t be considered leaders, however. Wilkins said he’s hoping for even more major looks, with his eye on Florida, Miami and even Southern Cal. He called UF, the school he grew up watching, his dream offer.
“So right now I’m not in any rush with my recruiting or eager to make a decision,” he said. “I have some good offers, but I know I’m going to have a big senior season and should have even more after that. So I want to see what comes [this fall], evaluate my options, and then take official visits after my season.”