Florida QB commits to Rebs

Chris Wilkes, a 6-4, 220-pound quarterback from Orlando, FL, kept the floodgates of commitments going this morning when he chose the Rebels over Miami, Arizona State and Georgia Tech. read about it inside.

Chris Wilkes can get on one knee and throw a football 65 yards.

While that alone doesn't make him a quarterback, maybe some of this does.

As a junior at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, FL, Wilkes threw for 1,600 yards and 18 TDs in leading his squad to the second round of the Florida 6-A playoffs. For his efforts, he was named All-District and All-Central Florida.

"We ran a balanced attack. We have two of the Top 20 running backs in Thomas Schuler and Embry Peoples (a Georgia Tech commitment) so we ran the ball a little more than we threw, but we were balanced," said Wilkes, a 6-4, 220-pounder.

After his senior season, Wilkes will come to Ole Miss. He verbally committed to the Rebels this morning, picking UM over Arizona State, Miami and Georgia Tech, who all offered him scholarships. He has been to ASU and Miami on unofficial visits.

"I want to play in the SEC and compete against the best," said Wilkes, who said he was "stoked" about his choice. "I have a good chance to go in and compete for the job and I have a chance to learn from Coach Dan Werner, who was the QB coach at Miami for a few years.

"I haven't been to Ole Miss yet, but when I visit in July I know I will like what I see, so I went ahead and committed."

Wilkes, who can throw the football nearly 80 yards, says arm strength is his best attribute.

"I have a strong enough arm to get the ball where I need to and on time," Chris noted. "I can make all the throws - the deep out, the crossing patterns, whatever is needed - but my best throw is the deep ball."

"I will also stand in the pocket, take a hit and deliver under pass rush pressure."

Wilkes knows there will be an adjustment to college ball, but he feels comfortable he can mentally handle it.

"I think one attribute I have is staying calm when the guys around me are going crazy," he laughed. "That's important for a QB - to be calm and to be a leader when the going gets tough. I take that responsibility seriously."

In the district championship game last season, Dr. Phillips was backed up on their own five with time running out and down a few points. Wilkes calmly hit a receiver for a big gain that led to the winning score.

"You have to keep your poise. It's key," added Chris, who has a 3.3 grade point average and 920 on his SAT.

Wilkes, who is a pitcher on the Dr. Phillips baseball team with a fastball around 90 miles per hour, wants to get stronger, but he already bench presses 265 pounds - a pretty good number for a high school QB.

He's also got some role models he likes to watch.

"The Manning brothers and Duante Culpepper are guys I try to copy. You can tell Peyton and Eli understand the game so well and Duante is a guy who will take the hits and deliever the ball regardless," he explained. "I like the way those guys play the game of football. You can tell they love playing and they are serious, but you can also tell it's fun to them."

This summer, Wilkes is working on footwork. He runs a 4.8 40 now and would like to get faster and quicker.

"Speed is not my thing, but I feel like I can get out of trouble when I have to. What I want to do is become quicker in the pocket. I am working on that hard," he said.

Wilkes said his recruitment is over, as far as he is concerned.

"I've made up my mind. Ole Miss is it for me," he ended. "I can't wait to visit in July."

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