Top in-state talent likes Vols

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Derek Dooley and his coaching staff are still searching for big-time play makers in the Tennessee backfield, but there might be one in their home state come 2013.

Cordova, Tenn., native Jordan Wilkins is already considered by some to be one of top athletes in the state of Tennessee for the 2013 class and is definitely thought of as the top athlete in the Memphis area.

"It is great to be one of the top players in Memphis, but it comes with some drama too," Wilkins said. "I am blessed to be one of the top players around here, but it puts some pressure on you when you are playing your games. There are people that are there to watch and people hating on you. You just have to bring you best every game."

The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder currently holds offers from Tennessee, Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Mississippi State, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State.

Wilkins and St. Benedict at Auburndale closed out their season with a first-round loss to Father Ryan, but Wilkins was a dynamic weapon for his team racking up just shy of 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns.

"As a team we started out good," Wilkins said. "We started off 5-0 and then we started to fall apart. We did good, played well together at first and then we started breaking apart. We ended the season at 6-4. It wasn't a terrible season, but it wasn't as good as we were hoping for.

"I thought I could have done a little better towards the end. I got a little worn out running so much, but I thought I did good."

With a host of smaller blockers ahead of him Wilkins will now shift his focus to the weight room while participating in basketball this winter to bulk up for next year's football season.

"Definitely need to get in the weight room because we have never really had a really big offensive line, so being a bigger running back will help a lot," he said. "I will be in the weight room and also try to work on my quickness a little bit."

Wilkins plans to visit a few schools over the summer for different camps, including Tennessee, who first got a glimpse of the Memphis product at their camp in the summer of 2011 where he earned MVP honors.

"I went up to (Tennessee's) camp last summer," he said. "That was the first time they had talked to me and I got the MVP at that camp up in Knoxville. The offensive coordinator, Chaney, he was up there talking to me and I have a pretty good relationship with him."

The campus was moving at a glacial pace when Wilkins stepped foot on Rocky Top, but he was still wowed by what Derek Dooley and the Volunteer coaching staff had to offer.

"It is a ways away from Memphis, but I liked it up there," he said. "The campus was a little dead because I went there during the summer, but every campus you go to is going to be a little dead during the summer. The facilities are awesome and they are building that new training facility. That is going to be awesome. I really liked it up there a lot."

While Wilkins referenced the 6-hour drive between Knoxville and his home he did say that distance would likely not play a factor in his recruitment.

Wilkins planned on visiting Tennessee during the season unofficially for the Vols match up with South Carolina, but was unable to make the game. Even still, he says the Vols are near the top of his list.

"Tennessee might end up as one of the top schools on my list," he said. "I will probably go back up there this summer for that same camp that I went to last summer because I had a great time up there."

Wilkins reports a 2.6 GPA, but his grades are on a steady uphill climb after nailing down a 3.6 average during his last quarter.

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