A Brotherly Rivalry

Brothers Jordan and Trey Wilkins will oppose one another on Saturday when Ole Miss takes on Vanderbilt in Nashville.

For those who don’t know redshirt freshman running back Jordan Wilkins, you better get to know him fast. It appears Wilkins could be the strongest back the Rebels have this season, and he might very well be on pace to be a cornerstone for the future.

This weekend’s game versus Vanderbilt is not only a big game for Ole Miss, but for Wilkins, as well. He will play against his brother, Trey Wilkins, who starts at wide receiver for the Commodores.

Trey, a senior, caught one pass for 19 yards in the Commodores 37-7 loss to Temple last week. Trey is two years older than Jordan and mentored him throughout his football journey. Jordan received his first carries as a college football player with five rushes for 21 yards in a 35-13, season-opening Ole Miss win against Boise State.

Saturday will be the first time the two brothers have played against each other as they both played on the same high school team at St. Benedict at Auburndale in Memphis, Tenn.

The Wilkins brothers broke many school records while attending St. Benedict. Trey owns the school’s all-time record for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Jordan, on the other hand, owns the school’s all-time record for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Jordan also owns the school record for 298 rushing yards in a single game, and he led his team to its first-ever win over Briarcrest Christian School in 2011, the high school of former Rebel Michael Oher.

The two brothers gained their athletic gifts from their parents, Billy and Angie Wilkins. Billy used to play for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL and Angie has a degree in Sports Management. Angie said that the boys started playing sports by the time they were four years old.

Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins.

“We tried to get them involved in every kind of sports so they could figure out what they liked best,” said Angie. ”We thought basketball was going to be the one they both played in college but they turned out both loving football more.”

The Wilkins brothers didn’t begin playing football until they were in the 5th grade. While Jordan was younger, he had to wait to play football. While he waited, Jordan would attend Trey’s practices to learn from his older brother.

“Jordan always tried to stick with Trey,” Angie said, “so he was trying to keep up and be as good as him in everything even being two years apart.” Jordan loved football so much at an early age that he snuck into one of Trey’s 6th grade football practices. Jordan coerced one of Trey’s teammates into loaning him his pads and jersey so he could play. Billy was the coach of the team. He didn’t notice Jordan had joined in until 15 minutes later.

“Having two boys close together was awesome. They never fought and they had great respect for each other,” said Angie.

As for the game on Saturday, Billy and Angie will be wearing neutral colors, though they will both sport Vanderbilt and Ole Miss gear.

“All of our family is coming and many friends and I want it to be a good and safe game. It doesn’t matter who wins. I just hope they are both happy with what they individually do on the field,” said Angie.

The story line going into the game of brothers opposing each other may be quiet, but one of Trey and Jordan’s former high school teammates saw this matchup coming.

“Well for me personally, I knew the day that both of them were playing each other in the national spotlight was inevitable since the first day that I stepped on the field with them,” said former St. Benedict defensive back Justin Crone. “They are just a special breed of athletes that you rarely get to see in private school football in Memphis.”

Billy and Angie will cheer and root for their sons, and she admits that this game will be emotional for the brothers. They both love competing and playing together.

“They really don’t like competing against each other. They’ve always been on the same team,” said Angie.

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