Wilkinson Receives Big 10 Offer

Venice's Brandon Wilkinson had a tremendous junior campaign with 70 tackles, 15 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. The 6'4.5, 215 pound athlete played Defensive End as a junior after having been a Tight End as a sophomore where he flashed some big time potential. Recently, Wilkinson reeled in his first BCS offer. Minnesota extended that offer on Monday.

"I am real excited, Minnesota is an up and coming Big 10 school with a brand new stadium and a great coaching staff. I can't be happier." The Gophers were Wilkinson's first D-1 offer, but there have been many schools interested in the talented pass rusher. UCF, FAU, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, South Florida, Georgia Tech, and Florida State have all been in contact this Spring.

Where does a school like Minnesota stand? "I will always remember they were first to offer and they will get one of my official visits for sure. Everything I have read about Minnesota looks real good, the weather won't bother me, I am excited to get up there and check it out."

We talked about how he will handle the process, "I will take all five visits almost certainly. I don't really have a childhood favorite or anything like that, I want to see who wants me, do my homework about that school, and try to make the best decision." With a 3.8 GPA, he can go anywhere in the country to play football, "Academics are important to me, I am not sure which direction I want to go in terms of a major, but hopefully I will get a better idea and that will factor into my decision."

Trey Burton made a very early commitment to Florida, but Venice has a number of quality prospects for next year including TE Beckett Wales, C Brian O'Leary, and RB/S Justin Grant, does Brandon think he could go to school with a team mate? "That would be great, we are very close, but we are individuals and will have to wait and see who is really interested in each of us. Obviously, I would love to play with those guys if the right situation came along."

Many have projected Wilkinson to the TE spot, but that is not the case, "They are recruiting me at Defensive End, in fact, most schools are recruiting me there. That is where I want to play, I have a defensive mentality on the field, I like to get after it." Physically, Brandon could play either and he is really starting to come into his own, "I played last year at 6'3, 185, we have weigh ins on Monday and yesterday I was 6'4.5, 215. The weight is really starting to come, who knows what I will be at next year."

That is a lot of weight gain from late November to late April, "I did not play basketball this year so I could finally focus on the weights and football training. As a team, we have really put the hours in this off-season."

It is Wilkinson's all around athleticism that has attracted schools to check him out. He has a great first step for his size and you can't talk to a Venice player without them mentioning what a tremendous athlete he is.

With Burton's commit to UF and an undefeated regular season in 2008, Venice was starting to really be talked about as a State Title contender last year, "We lost to Charlotte in the 2nd round, a team we beat 56-26 in the regular season. Hopefully that happened for a reason, to make us better next year. We want a State Championship, we are a community school, we have been together forever, that is goal and we have worked as hard as possible to achieve that goal in 2009. We need a couple of pieces to come together and we should be a tough team to send home."

Venice will play 2007 State Champion Naples in the Spring Game.

Brandon Wilkinson Highlights

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